This was the first time that I had tasted this tea.
Two things attracted me to it…
- It is picked by Monkeys! (Okay, it is not actually picked by monkeys. I will admit I was let down when I discovered this wasn’t true. More on that below*…)
- The dried leaves are huge!
So naturally, I had to acquire some. This batch was acquired from the London tea company, Mei Leaf.
Let’s get to it…
Name: “Monkey Picked” Taiping Hou Kui
Cultivar: Shi Da
Origin: Taiping, Xin Ming, Anhui, China
Elevation: 700 meters
Year: 2017 (April)
Type: Green Tea
The package instructions call for 2 grams per 100 mL of water volume at 80 (C) degrees (175 F) for 25 seconds (Gong Fu Brewing). Each additional steep calls for adding 5 seconds per steep.
Steep 1: 25 seconds
Very light taste… the smell of the leaf in my kyusu reminds me somewhat of what I remember from the last time I had Long Jin. The color is a very light shade of green.
Steep 2: 30 seconds
The taste of the tea was still extremely light (although still tasty). I will admit I couldn’t figure out what I was tasting or smelling, so I looked at the description on the packaging for some help…
Young coconut water, pumpkin seed milk, and orchids.
From this, I was able to put some of it together (or maybe I just imagined it after reading the description). The leaves did seem to give off an aroma of pumpkin seeds. I begin to notice the caffeine in my body. It was a pleasant feeling.
Steep 3: 35 seconds
Tea is pleasant overall; not the most flavorful (at least to my palate-in-training). The tastes were very light and delicate and admittedly gave me some trouble identifying, as stated before.
Steep 4: 40 seconds
Still tasty. Mouth is a little dry now.
Steep 5: 45 seconds
Maintains flavor, but still very light.
I will admit that this tea was not my favorite. That is not to say it was not a good tea. It was tasty and I did enjoy it still. It just didn’t quite have the flavor that I have grown to love in green teas… However, I have spent most of my time in green teas exploring Japanese varieties primarily which are full of flavor and umami rich. This was contrastingly different. I will have to try it again at some point as I continue my exploration.
* So what about those monkeys?
Legend has it that farmers used to train monkeys to pick tea leaves that were to difficult or dangerous for them to pick themselves (side of steep mountain cliffs).
I’m just going to pretend that this tea really is picked by monkeys. It’s more fun that way.