Posted by: dan | June 16, 2009

monkey dory

MonkeyDoryHeader(title with apologies to David Bowie, not the fish)

Dan: Ben has previously reviewed this tea, and rated it quite highly. He also said he’d snatched away his Golden Monkey teabags before I could see them. However, he didn’t see that I had one of the ‘Tardis’ tins, full of the loose-leaf version. Apparently, I’m a sneaky sod, but was it worth it?

Tiny tails of tea

Tiny tails of tea

My first impression of this tea was that it was well-named. The hard, crunchy leaves appear in a similar shape to the traditional ‘s’ of a monkey’s tail, and their colours of black and orange are reminiscent of the marmoset’s markings. The smell is significantly different to that of a monkey (fortunately), being a vaguely fruity and slightly woody aroma. The scent carries through from leaf and infusing to the finished drink. The golden colour it creates shows from the moment the boiling water is added, and keeps its mysterious amber appearance for the five minute brewing time.

Before I get to how it tastes, a bit of background. After reading Ben’s glowing review of it, I’ve been expecting something amazing, something that knocks me back with its brilliance. For that reason, it’s a tea I’ve left for a while, so I can have it as a treat after having a few bad teas, should I ever come across any. Well, apart from my difficulties getting to grips with Oolongs (I’m slowly coming around to their charms) and mistakes with Jasmines, I’ve not really had any bad teas. So I thought ‘to hell with it,’ and brewed myself a pot so I could finally taste what the fuss was about.

More golden, less monkey

More golden, less monkey

After the first few sips, I was a little disappointed. It seemed like any other black tea. Nice enough, but there wasn’t anything new there. But as I kept drinking, its charms came through, slowly and surely. The subtlety of the flavour takes a while to sink in, but when it does, it’s glorious. The fruitiness found in the leaves’ smell lingers under the mild smoky taste you expect from black teas. It doesn’t wave for your attention, but when you notice it, it sticks with you. Best of all, it develops as you drink, so that flavour grows with each new sip. By the end of the cup, you’re hooked; and while it’s not likely to make you forget your other black teas, you’ll certainly come back to it again and again.

Dan was drinking adagio’s Golden Monkey, available at £5.99 for 15 teabags.



  1. Golden monkey is indeed a treat. The best I’ve had is from a tea room chain called “Teaism”, and their GM is spicy with very nice cocoa notes. Goes perfectly with one of their chocolate salty oat cookies.


    • Have you tried it with milk and sugar? I might have to try it when I have my next cup.

  2. I have not, but can’t really see the purpose of either in Golden Monkey. Golden Monkey really doesn’t need either, and I think they would destroy the flavour.

    • *sticks oar in*

      When I reviewed this intially, I was making it with a little milk and a spoon of sugar (it’s a black tea so perfectly allowed). As I continue to drink it, I’ve been using less and less milk and sugar to the extent that, this week, I made it sans either.

      I’ve experimented a little bit over the past few days. I find the best way to serve is black with the tiniest serving of sugar imaginable – somewhere around 1/10th of an inch on the very tip of a teaspoon.

    • I find that with most black teas, to be honest. Ceylon tends to lend itself quite well to milk, but the one I’ve got at the moment tastes quite like honey, so sugar would definitely be wrong. Perhaps I won’t bother with either for the Golden Monkey if it won’t add anything.

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