Ingredients: White tea
Country of origin: Hunan Province, China
Caffeine content: Low
Antioxidant Level: High
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free, Organic, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, No artificial colours or flavours
Preparation: 1 heaped teaspoon of tea. 85°C for 3-4 minutes
Description: This is a spectacular Chinese tea. Somewhat stronger than many other white teas, 100 Monkeys produces a profoundly complex cup. The leaves can be brewed a number of times and with each infusion subtle changes to the cup can be detected. Many of the speciality teas grown and produced in China are associated with folklore and legend. 100 Monkeys, a rare White Mao Feng tea from Hunan is no exception. A pot of this tea is purported to ward off evil spirits. This belief stems from a tale that centres on an old tea grower and his wife who worked a small plot of land high in the hills. So the story goes, the couple was being terrorized by a renegade band of monkeys. Time and again, they woke up to discover that the nights flush of new tea shoots had been pulled apart by the nimble thieves. They tried everything to stop the monkeys, from covering the crop with netting to buying two large dogs to scare the group away. Nothing seemed to work.
In desperation, the husband decided that he would have to travel over the mountains to a remote cave where it was rumoured that a shaman lived whom he could ask for help. The man packed his bag and set off. Upon reaching the cave, he explained his problem to the holy man. The holy man told him that he should go away and come back in 3 days for the solution to his dilemma. 3 days later the man returned and was given a recipe for a new type of tea written on a parchment. The holy man explained that since the monkeys always came looking for tea if he gave them 100 pounds of this produced tea they would depart and never return. The tea was a variety of Mao Feng, which in English means white downy tips, (mao means white down and Feng means tips.) The production method involved 11 steps - 4 stages of frying, 3 stages of kneading, followed by 4 stages of baking - it was worth a shot. The man and his wife spent the next week producing the new tea. Once they had 100 pounds, they left it out in a wooden chest. That night, as usual, they heard the monkeys descend on the farm, shrieking, and pounding the earth. The next morning, they rushed outside to find that the chest was empty. The monkeys had taken the tea, and as the legend goes, never returned again.
Serving Suggestion: We would urge you to drink this tea naked. The subtle nuance of flavours is easily overwhelmed by milk sugar or lemon. For iced drinks either cold brew overnight or brew as for hot but use more tea leaves to make a more intense flavour.