7 Tasting Notes


A solid Yunnan dian hong offering. It doesn’t quite scratch my cocoa-malty Yunnan itch, though.

I originally steeped this at 5 minutes, and didn’t like the results. Far too much flavor to taste. 3 minutes leaves the tea enough room to bloom in the water.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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This is something special. I love a deep, full bodied malty Yunnan. This is not that.

Take the malty earthiness of a typical Yunnan black, mellow it, and layer over it a delecate flowery essence, like a Tieguanyin. This is that tea. It will linger and play across your palate all day. An unexpected treat.

I take the kettle off as it reaches boiling and let it sit for a moment. Not sure if it makes a difference, but it seems appropriate for a tea with such delicate flavors. Steeps between 3 and 4 minutes seems to come out about the same. I didn’t fare as well with a second steep at 5 minutes. It was worth drinking, but not nearly as good as the first steep.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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I recently got a bunch of dian-hong-esque teas from Adagio. My favorite tea in this realm is Chicago Tea Company’s Golden Bi Luo, and that’s become my benchmark. I’m looking for something that can beat it. Haven’t found it yet.

But Golden Monkey manages to go off in its own direction. Despite being a dark, malty brew, it has less of the molasses note that I’m used to in these teas, and more of a…what is that?

Soy sauce. I think it’s soy sauce. Mostly in the nose, and of course without the salt. There’s a rich, dark soy brew flavor in there. Surprisingly I really like it. It’s almost savory, like a pu-erh, but it’s not a meal in itself.

Actually, the flavor on the palate seems lacking to me. I used a generous teaspoon for my cup and gave it almost 4 minutes, but the mouthfeel and palate is thin and unimpressive. I wouldn’t want to steep it longer; the nose would be overpowering. Stimulant-wise, it’s definitely a morning kickstart.

It doesn’t break the Golden Bi Luo’s record, but I’ll probably get more of this. Maybe I’ll try a second steep later.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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This is the first of my sample order from Chicago Tea Garden. How could I resist a black tea that looks yellow and is curled up like snails? It’s a dark, rainy morning, I’ve got the whole day at home ahead of me, and my IngenuiTEA is longing to be broken in. Let’s try a nice malty tea that I can keep infusing all day long.

Thanks to SoccerMom for pointing out the recommended brewing time of 1 minute with boiling water.

The first infusion is a nice orange color. There are light floral notes in the nose; this tea might be a waste if you have a cold. The nose also carries a subtle vanilla, giving the tea a rich and creamy character, balanced by a delicate taste—not at all bitter or astringent. The mouthfeel itself is quite balanced: substantial, but not heavy. Overall, the perfect complement to my wet, dark day.

For the second infusion, I extended the time to 2 minutes. Now the floral wisps have disappeared as a full, malty character emerges. This is a complex and adventuresome tea, and I’m glad that I took the day to explore it. Next time, I’d extend the first infusion to at least 1:30.

The third infusion at another 2 minutes is less spectacular, but no less satisfactory. Everything has quieted down a bit, but the floral malt still lingers.

A good tea, and a good day.

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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Northampton, MA

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