Monkey Tea, Monkey Do


Alright, I’ll admit it, I might have decided to try this tea because of its cool name.  When you see something called White Monkey though, how could you resist?

I came across this tea whilst cruising through Adagio Teas‘ varieties online (my kind of internet shopping) and seeing as it met my criteria of being new to me and having an interesting/fun name I popped it in the basket.

Let’s clear one thing up to start with, White Monkey is not a white tea.  I know, I know, slightly annoying I must admit.  It is actually a green tea and takes it name from the appearance of the dried leaves.  It is made up of young leaves and unopened buds which have large, slightly furry looking, white tips that are said to resemble a white-haired monkey’s paw.

white monkey
Just like this little guy.

This particular simian tea, also known as Bai Mao Hou, hails from the Fujian province of China which is the same province as the legendary Iron Goddess of Mercy oolong that I tried a little while ago.  It is grown on the slopes of the Taimu Mountains, a place so striking and beautiful that it could be Mac wallpaper.  The tea is harvested early in the season and is processed entirely by hand, making it pretty special really if you ask me.

Anyway enough talk, time for some tea tasting.  I’ve learned the hard way in the past about the dire consequences of over-steeping green tea (read all about my Shincha experience for that story) so when it comes to trying new teas I’ll always take heed of the supplier’s recommendations.  Adagio suggested 2 minutes at 82 degrees so I did my best to get the water temperature right using my usual technique of ‘leaving it for a few minutes’ and set the tea steeping.


The brewed tea was coloured a very light yellowy green, not far from the colour of a white tea or a delicate oolong.  I wondered if I’d slightly underdone it but pressed on and was not disappointed.  The flavour was very subtle and surprisingly sweet and it made me think that it wasn’t just the name that made this young green tea easy to confuse with a white tea.  Initially there wasn’t any of the salty, seaweedy taste that I’d come to expect from loose leaf green teas, and the first cup was nothing but sweet and slightly floral.  Here’s the interesting part though which I’m hoping some kind person will explain to me.  Although having removed my infuser after the recommended two minutes, each cup from my little teapot had a noticeably different taste.  That seaweed taste grew from cup to cup and the sweetness diminished and all in the space of about ten minutes.  This was somewhat of a surprise, although an enjoyable one!


The White Monkey has been one of my preferred green teas so far mainly due to it’s lighter taste.  I imagine that for some it might be lacking those familiar green tea elements that they know and love but personally I found it highly enjoyable and a nice relaxing cup to drink.

Have you tried White Monkey before?  How did you find it?  Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. The variation in flavour can even be noticeable when steeping in a gaiwan, so you either have to try to pour equal amounts from each part of the pour into each cup in a kind of circular motion, if you follow, or better still decant into a tea pitcher before serving into cups, which evens out the flavour, ensuring everyone gets the same concentration of flavour. That’s the reason one of their names is fairness cup, or justice pot.

    If it has a scientific basis or not I don’t know, but most explanations for the phenomenon seem to go along with the idea that “the flavour sinks”.


    1. Rory says:

      Ah right, thanks for clearing that up for me!
      I’ve adopted the circular motion and also gave the tea a little stir inside my teapot, probably not the traditional method but it seemed to work! It sounds like a tea pitcher will have to be on my shopping list too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You can always use a cream jug if needs be… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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