Golden Monkey Tea is a Chinese black tea that gets its name from the hairy golden tips and the shape of the dry leaves, which resemble a monkey claw. It took second place in the ‘Signature Famous Tea: Hot Tea Class’ of the 2009 World Tea Championship.
Golden Monkey tea is made from the buds and the first leaves of the tea plant. These are withered lightly in the sun, then fermented and dried. This process results in a distinctive, light flavor with honeyed peach tones and no bitterness.
Where to buy
This tea can be found in many specialty tea shops or through a number of online vendors. If you are unsure where to begin, you can check out some of my recommendations below.
How to Prepare Golden Monkey Tea
The preparation instructions given here are for loose leaf teas. For tea bags, you can just follow the instructions given on the box.
The best brewing temperature is 90-95ºC (194-205ºF), which is just below the boiling point. You can simply boil the water using a stove-top kettle and then let it cool for 20 seconds.
If you plan on trying a lot of varieties of tea and/or coffee it might be worth it to invest in a water boiler/warmer/dispenser or an electric kettle with a variable temperature setting. Personally, I recommend this Cuisinart kettle, because it has presets for every type of tea, so you always get the perfect temperature:
This tea can be brewed in a variety of vessels. For these instructions, I will use a traditional Chinese clay teapot known as an yixing.
- Fill both the teapot and the cup about halfway with hot water to pre-heat them. Tilt them a bit so that the water creeps up the side and then rotate them so the insides get wet all the way around. Then pour the water out.
- Put 1-2 teaspoons of Golden Monkey leaves into the teapot. If using a different vessel, use 1-2 teaspoons for every 8 oz. (236 ml) of water.
- Fill the teapot with 90-95ºC (194-205ºF) water.
- Place the lid on the teapot and let the tea steep for 2 minutes.
- Pour the tea into the teacups and enjoy your tea!
- You can get 3-5 infusions out of most varieties. Increase the steeping time 30 seconds for each infusion. How many infusions you do depends entirely on your taste. Experiment.
Use the amounts given in these instructions as a rough guide. If you find the resulting tea too weak, add more tea leaves; if it is too strong, reduce the amount of leaves used. Similarly, try increasing or decreasing the steeping times.
Here is a video showing how to brew Golden Monkey tea. For those asking about the glass teapot with infuser in the video, that link takes you to a post reviewing the 10 best.
Many people already have an account with Amazon.com so it is probably the easiest place to buy tea online. The best Golden Monkey tea I’ve found on Amazon is this one from Teavana.
Art of Tea has the highest quality Organic Golden Monkey I’ve found online. It is actually a bit cheaper than the one from Teavana above, but I like it a lot better.
If you are looking for something cheaper still, you might want to check out Teavivre’s Golden Monkey. The quality is pretty good, considering the price, but it doesn’t come close to the one from Art of Tea.