The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
A Guide to Buying and Brewing China's
Golden Monkey Black Tea
Grown in the Saowu region outside the city of Fu'an near the coast in China's
northern Fujian  province, Golden Monkey is part of the Panyang Congou family
of Chinese black teas, along with Golden Crab, Panyang Golden Needle (also
called King of Golden Needle), and, of course, Panyang Congou.
Golden Monkey (also called
Pan Yang Gong Fu) is a rela-
tively new tea as its name implies.  Most
Chinese teas have two names with the first
referencing the place of origin, and second
the style of leaf.  An example is
Keemun Mao
Feng, with Keemun being the area in
Anhui
province where it's grown, and Mao Feng a
specific style of pluck (a bud and two leaves).

Golden Monkey gives no such references,
although for marketing purposes a tea with
"monkey" in the name usually denotes a fine,
or high quality tea.

The tea leaves used to make Golden Monkey
are harvested when the tips are as large as
possible without having opened into a whole leaf.  The tips are sweet because they contain
extra sugars concentrated in the bud to help it form into a full leaf.  When oxidized these buds
turn to a lovely golden color.

                                  Golden Monkey is an
orthodox manufactured tea, harvested in both
                                  spring and fall.  The
Panyang Congou family of black teas have differing
                                  sizes of leaves and amounts of tips.  Golden Monkey falls in the middle as
                                  far as leaf size which is slightly larger leaf than Panyang Golden Needle,
                                  but which contains more tips.

                                  The leaves are dark brown and coiled or twisted, and about one inch in
                                  length, mixed with pretty golden colored tips.  There should be a ratio of
                                  approximately 75% leaves, and 25% golden tips.

This tea has a light body as the tips add a subtle sweetness, as well as the flavor of bittersweet
chocolate (without the bitterness), together with cooked stone fruits, and a mellow, slightly
nutty finish.

The infusion is a clear honey-brown color,
tinged with a slight blush of copper.  Golden
Monkey has a light and sweet aroma of stone
fruits like apricots, and nuts, and sometimes
even a wisp of soft floral aromas.

One thing you should know when purchasing
this tea is that Golden Monkey is a name de-
signation used to describe many quality levels
of this style of
black tea.  (You'll find this to be
the case in many other instances, especially
with
green teas, too).

          When ordering by phone or online ask
          the merchant about the style and fla-
          vor as well as the ratio of tea to bud.  Also only buy a small amount first to see if it's a
          tea you like, which is something I always recommend when buying online or by phone/
          catalog, particularly if this is your first
tea purchase from that vendor.

          Unfortunately you can't see or sniff the tea to verify freshness and aroma, or see the
          breakdown of ingredients, so it's always a good policy to first buy the smallest amount
          they offer or that you are comfortable with.

                                                          Another great way to gauge both the seller's and tea's
                                                          quality is by checking out the customer testimonials.
                                                          There you're getting unedited truthful comments from
                                                          people who have bought the product and done business
                                                          with the seller or company.  Most people won't hesitate to
                                                          report negative points about a product and also are    
                                                          usually willing to share their satisfaction and happiness
          with one, too.  Just be careful to edit out personal preferences from actual complaints,
          for example, "I didn't like the flavor," refers to their personal likes/ dislikes and isn't
          necessarily a negative reflection of the company or product.

          Golden Monkey, along with the other Panyang Congou family of
          black teas comes from China's
Fujian province, produced in a small
          village called Tang Yang (or Tanyang) on Taimu Mountain, located
          just outside the city of Fu'an.

          When brewing Golden Monkey you should use about 2 1/2 to 3
          teaspoons of tea per 6 ounces of water and steep for 4-5 minutes.
          It can be drunk plain, with cream and/or sugar, or with a squeeze
          of lemon and/or honey.  The following are recommended amounts
          of Golden Monkey tea by weight or volume:  

          8 oz. mug - 4 to 5 grams by weight OR 4 to 5 tsps (1 1/3 - 1 2/3 tablespoon) by volume.
          24 oz. travel mug - 12-13 grams by weight OR 12-13 tsps (4 1/3 - 4 2/3 tablespoon) by
          volume.
          32 oz. teapot (four 8 oz. servings) 16-17 grams by weight OR 5 1/3 - 5 2/3 tablespoon
          by volume.

          Visit our
Measure and Yield and Measuring Loose Leaf Tea pages for more information on
          how much tea to use for brewing various amounts and calculating the number of cups
          per pound of tea, as well as the cost per cup, and our
Secrets to Brewing Tea page for
some great brewing tips.  However, if you're brand new to brewing tea, visit our How to Brew page first for an over-
view of tea brewing methods.

Once you become familiar with the particular style of Golden Monkey you've purchased
you may want to change up steeping times and amounts of tea, for a more or less robust
cup until you get just the right combination to fit your personal taste.

The presence of more sweet tips means Golden Monkey is less robust and lighter in body
than say, an
Assam, or Ceylon black tea.  Because of its chocolaty flavor, though, Golden
Monkey has become very popular in the U.S. and U.K., having established a sturdy following of loyal tea drinkers.  So,
be warned, once you try it you're very likely going to join their ranks as Golden Monkey tea lovers, too.  
Enjoy.
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