Golden Monkey from Tea N Joy. . ..

I’m not always the right tea taster for the special harvest, unflavored tea samples, as much as I wish I were overjoyed about a pu erh cake or a shade-grown green tea.  That said, I’ve definitely come to enjoy black teas with golden tips, so I was excited to brew up a cup of Golden Money from Tea N Joy.

It’s hard to resist an animal-inspired tea name.  I’ve tried oolongs called “Monkey-Picked” because of the treacherous areas where the trees grow. Golden Monkey sounds like a tea named for a beautiful blond-haired monkey.  This tea is actually named for the golden tips of the tea, and the fact that the leaves are sharply curved, like monkey claws.

Brewed, this tea is smooth and chocolatey, even after only a short brew.  The tea doesn’t taste exactly a chocolate bar, but there is a distinct sweet herbal flavor that brings to mind dark chocolate.  On my second steep, I gave the leaves a longer steep time, and even with the added brew time, the strength of the cacao notes don’t overpower the silky, mellow black tea base.  This tea is full and rich, very drinkable with lots of subtle sweet flavors that open up the more you drink.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a tea connoisseur, do yourself a favor and try a cup of Golden Monkey from Tea N Joy.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Tea N Joy
Description: Golden Monkey Tea is hand-processed each spring with a careful plucking of only one leaf and one bud. It is among the finest Chinese Black Teas available today. A rich, full-bodied Tea. The name comes from its unique appearance: the leaves resemble monkey claws. Sweet and very ‘nosy’ with the aromas of: savory roasted apples, cocoa and spice notes that linger as you sip. Rich, coating texture and very smooth, soft mouth-feel. Delicate, almost indistinguishable astringency.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Golden Monkey from Tea N Joy. . . .

Today’s tea sample is from a company called Tea N Joy. I’ve never tried teas from this tea company before, so I’m excited to see how it goes! This should be fun!
So I steeped this tea for around 2.5 minutes, using a heaping 1/2 tbsp and 10 oz of near-boiling water. It started to give off a nice malty smell right away.
I should describe the tea leaves, too; they’re big, well-defined, long twisty thin leaves with gold tips! Wonderful. They look very high-quality. I love it when my tea has entire tea leaves in it, especially when they’re this beautiful! According to Tea ‘N Joy’s website, it’s because only the very tip of each growing sprig is used in this tea; only the bud and one adjacent leaf.
As the tea steeps, it gains a rich, full fragrance with a slight edge to it and lovely chocolate notes.The tea liquid itself is a darkish copper-amber color.
First sip: Sweet, malty, and pleasant. In fact, it’s so sweet that I’d say it almost has a honey-like flavor. And, as the fragrance implied, it also has strong cocoa notes, not just while steeping but also while sipping.


Tea ‘N Joy’s website claims that this is a super-high-quality tea, and I tend to totally agree with that assessment. In fact, I’m tempted to place an order right now just so I can continue enjoying a premium-quality cup of this tea on a regular basis. <3


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Tea N Joy

Golden Monkey Tea is hand-processed each spring with a careful plucking of only one leaf and one bud. It is among the finest Chinese Black Teas available today. A rich, full-bodied Tea. The name comes from its unique appearance: the leaves resemble monkey claws. Sweet and very ‘nosy’ with the aromas of: savory roasted apples, cocoa and spice notes that linger as you sip. Rich, coating texture and very smooth, soft mouth-feel. Delicate, almost indistinguishable astringency.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Tea from Pipers Loose Leaf Tea

PipersEarlGreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Pipers Loose Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Made with the finest China teas including a large portion of white tips (the most prized leaf of the plant) and blended with the highest quality Sicilian oil of bergamot available.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is the last of the four teas that Pipers Loose Leaf sent to me, and it would appear that I saved the best for last.  I liked a couple of the teas that they sent me and I really enjoyed the Red Grey that I tried which kind of surprised me because I don’t usually think I’ll enjoy a ‘rooibos’ Earl Grey.  That one was quite nice.

But this Earl Grey Tea from Pipers Loose Leaf Tea is the best one that I tried from them.  First of all, the dry leaf!  It’s beautiful!  The leaves are whole and large.  They’re chocolate brown and wiry and there are several ‘white tips’ in there too.  Beautiful.  The aroma is strong and distinctly bergamot and you know that I loved that.

To brew the tea, I used my Breville One-Touch and measured 2 bamboo scoops of the tea into the basket.  Then I added 500ml of water to the kettle and set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and the temperature for 205°F.

No real reason for choosing 205° over the boiling temperature of 212°F except that I felt more comfortable using a slightly lower temperature with all the white tips in the tea.  I don’t know that the slightly lower temperature would make all that much difference, and really, there were probably 4 white tips that were among the many chocolate brown leaves in the basket, so I doubt that their presence in the basket would have deemed necessary a slightly lower temperature.  But I also didn’t figure that seven degrees below boiling would have made all that much difference to the ability of the black leaves to release their flavor fully.  So I just went with my gut and my gut told me to use 205°F.  So that’s what I did.

Nice.  The bergamot flavor is a bit on the subtle side.  The aroma was quite strong and led me to think that this would be a very bergamot-y cup.  Don’t get me wrong, the bergamot is THERE and it’s quite wonderful.  It’s just a bit softer than the dry leaf aroma would led me to believe it would be.

What makes this particular tea so nice is the way the black tea comes through.  It’s a rich, malty black tea.  It has a pleasantly thick texture to it and it has a solid, full flavor.  Nicely round.  And really quite smooth!  There is very little astringency to this, even as I focus on trying to find the astringency to this tea, I find very little.  Just a very slight dry note toward the finish.  It’s so very slight that when I take the sip, I don’t notice it unless I am trying to find it.  A smooth, robust delivery from start to finish.

The bergamot is softer, as I mentioned, but it’s a pleasant sweet-tangy citrus taste.  It’s bright and invigorating.  I know that Earl Grey is a popular tea to go ‘latte’ with, but I don’t know that I’d suggest doing that with this particular Earl Grey, because I think that the milk or cream might overwhelm the bergamot flavor.  I find that the bergamot develops as I continue to sip and now that I’m just past the halfway point in my cup, the flavor is stronger than when I first started.

It’s still not as strong as some of the more boldly flavored bergamot teas I’ve had in the past, and not quite as strong as the aforementioned Red Grey that I tasted a few days ago.  But, even though that Red Grey was stronger – bergamot wise – I find myself still preferring this tea to that one because I like the way the bergamot plays with the black tea notes here.

This is lovely.   My adoration of a good Earl Grey is no secret by now, I’m sure!  And this is a good one.  I don’t know that it would be able to eek it’s way into my ‘top 3’ or even my top 5.  But, I’m enjoying it and I’d be happy to drink it again.

Not So Vanilla Flavored Black Tea from Tippy’s Tea

NotSoVanillaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tippy’s Tea

Tea Description:

Decadent dark chocolate and vanilla. Extremely smooth, malty and chocolatey. Hand chopped Madagascar vanilla beans add a sweet and creamy vanilla flavour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmmmmmm!  This is really good.  REALLY really good.

I’ve tried more than one or two different vanilla flavored black teas, and I’ve enjoyed most that I’ve enjoyed.  I can’t think of any vanilla flavored tea that I didn’t at least like.  Maybe not love, but I think that I liked most of them.

This one – though – this is one of those that stands out as an EXCELLENT vanilla flavored black tea.  What makes this one so different?

Well, I think it has a lot to do with the tea base.  It’s a Golden Monkey.  The combination of the natural chocolate-y notes of the Golden Monkey along with the sweet, creamy notes of the Madagascar vanilla bean works very well together.

The Golden Monkey is rich and slightly creamy tasting.  The aforementioned chocolate notes are bittersweet and this is a really pleasing contrast to the vanilla notes from the vanilla bean.

Another thing that makes this one different is that this doesn’t appear to be a flavored tea.  That is to say, it’s not been flavored with flavoring oils.  It’s been infused with the flavors naturally using vanilla beans rather than oils.  And this gives it a light, natural vanilla flavor rather than a synthetic one.  It’s kind of like the difference between a vanilla bean ice cream and a vanilla ice cream.  They taste similar, but there is a distinct difference that can be tasted.

That said, because this hasn’t been flavored with oils, the vanilla here is somewhat more subdued than you’d find in a vanilla tea that’s been flavored with oils.  If you’re looking for a really STRONG vanilla flavor, then you might want to try a different tea.  If you’re looking for a really GOOD vanilla flavor – you’ve found your tea!

Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea from What-Cha Tea

NepalGoldenTips Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

An incredible black tea made entirely of young buds, the smoothest black tea we have tried with a refined malty taste and no bitterness or astringency. 

We are proud to source all our Nepal teas direct from Greenland Organic Farm, who are very much at the forefront of a burgeoning Nepali tea industry dedicated to producing high quality artisanal teas. Greenland Organic Farm are completely pesticide and chemical free farm dedicated to producing tea in an ethical and fair manner. Greenland Organic Farm is located in East Nepal in the shadows of Mt. Kancghenjunga at an altitude of 3,000m.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh my goodness, these Golden Tips from Nepal are so lovely!

The dry leaf is visually stunning.  The coloration of the leaves vary from a chocolate brown to a golden brown.  The tips are golden (as the name implies!)  It’s very fragrant, smelling of fruit and flower with notes of earth.  The brewed liquid smells much like the dry leaf.

I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch using 500 ml of freshly filtered water and 2 bamboo scoops of tea.  I steeped it at 205°F for 2 1/2 minutes and … the tea tastes simply amazing!

Tea growing on a slope in Nepal

Honey!  Malt!  Cacao!  Caramel!  Sweet notes of fruit!  Hints of flower!

The mouthfeel is pleasant.  Thick and smooth, it feels a little bit like thinned honey as the tea glides over the palate.  And it tastes like honey too.  This tea is rich and full-flavored.

The malty notes marry beautifully with the caramel-y undertone to create a rich, satisfying sweetness.  The notes of cacao are bittersweet.  As I continue to sip, I start to pick up on warm notes of spice.  This is a cozy tasting tea and as the weather has finally begun to cool the warmth from this tea is certainly welcome.  It’s a cozy, comforting cup of tea to enjoy.

Many of the Nepalese black teas that I’ve tasted are more reminiscent of Darjeeling but not so with this one.  This doesn’t have that crisp, lightness of a Darjeeling, instead, this is richer, reminiscent perhaps of a Golden Yunnan or a Fujian Black.

This tea is also good for two infusions, so be sure to re-steep those leaves and get all the flavor you can out of them!  The second infusion is just as delightful as the first!

This is not a tea that I would reach for on the mornings when I need to get up and go.  Instead, this is the tea I’d want to reach for on the mornings when I can curl up under a fluffy blanket and just relax a little.  The kind of tea that you want to linger over for a while because it tastes so good that you don’t want the cup to end!

It is as I said at the start:  this is oh-so-lovely!