Originating from the Fujian Province of China, the Panyang Congou family comprises of a diverse range of black teas. Some of them include the Golden monkey tea, the Golden Crab Tea, the King of Golden Needle tea, and most importantly, the Panyang Congou tea.
While almost all Chinese teas have a similar level of concentration, their biggest highlight is their mild and flavorful taste. This is primarily because of their oxidation period, which is longer, and at times slower than that of the regular tea. During the oxidation period, the tea concentrates a type of flavonoid which is known as the thearubigins. What’s more, it also produces several golden tips in the process which offers the tea a better body and a mild flavor.
The thearubigins, along with the sweet tips are a fine pluck. While the tea is processed, it draws out the light and sweet fragrance of the rock fruits. This is teamed with the bittersweet flavor and odor of chocolate which renders an excellent appeal to the tea. Perhaps this is the reason why these teas are so massively popular across America and Europe. However, while every Chinese black popular and widely received, one of their leading variants is the Golden Monkey. Also known as the youngest variant of Chinese teas, the Golden Monkey tea is incredibly popular for its mild, toasted flavor.
Originating from the Saowu region right outside Fu’an, this tea is predominantly found along the Fujian Province. According to experts, this tea is relatively new in the market and it’s only being exported for the one and a half to two decades. But despite being new, the Golden Monkey Tea has turned out to be incredibly popular among Eastern and Western Europe.
This tea is developed from the a Bai’ or the Big White, which is the same cultivar that goes into making white tea. Unlike other Chinese teas, the leaves of the Golden Monkey are only harvested when their tips get as large as they can without developing a whole leaf. These tips are usually sweet as they contain an extra dose of sugar that further helps the bud in developing to an entire leaf. The bud gets a stunning golden hue at the time of the oxidation.
One of the unique aspects of this tea lies in its name. Unlike other Chinese teas, the Golden Money doesn’t have two names. The name of the conventional Chinese teas is usually attributed to their region of origin and the shape and structure of the leaves. One of the biggest instances is Panyang Congu. Here, the name Panyang is derived from a small town along the Fujian Province and Congou is the tea trade that is classified according to the style of the black tea. Since this tea is coiled, it derives the title Congou. However, Golden Monkey has no other meaning other than the processing and marketing. Here, the term monkey indicates an excellent grade of tea.
Right after the Golden Money, the next tea in line is the Panyang Congou. Found in the Fujian region, this tea has a subtle, bitter-sweet taste. A defining aspect of the Panyang Congou tea is its complex blend. Deriving their name from their complex shape, the Congou is one of the most historical teas of the Nation. A sister to the popular Golden Money tea, the Congou’s bold, brisk and warm flavors make it a perfect option for the times when you need a dose of oomph in your tea.
The Panyang region has produced black teas for more than 200 years. During this time, the best range of tea developed here is called ippy’. This is primarily because of the massive number of tips and golden buds apparent in the tea.
The Panyang Congou tea is also found outside the barriers of u’. You are most likely to find this tea in the small villages of Ting Tang along the Taimu Mountain. Often touted to be the last of their kind, this tea is a historical product of China, largely because it was exported during the days of the tea trade. The word Congou itself is a distorted version of the Chinese term ong fu’ or ung fu’ that suggest maximum mastery. So, the name of the tea itself indicates the incredible mastery you needed developing this kind of twisted tea with your hand alone.
Today, however, the Panyang Congou is crafted with the help of a machine. Its leaves are rolled in tight spirals/twists after they are gradually oxidized for drawing the thearubigins out. For the uninitiated, these are the flavors that result in the mild, rich flavors of the tea. The Panyang Congou tea is often deemed to be full-bodied and brisker than its counterparts Golden Needle and Golden Monkey. This is usually because it has fewer tips and a perfectly fruity flavor almost similar to natural baked apples, as found in the teas of Assam and Nilgiri.
Popular as the Tan Congou gardens of China, the very first Panyang Congou Tea garden was developed almost 300 years back during the first few years of the Qing Dynasty. At that point, the Congou and other teas like Paklum and Chingwo were popular kinds of hot beverage. It was also during this time when China was at its highest level of tea trade with various European countries. Right now, Paklum isn’t made anymore and the production of Chingwo too is almost on the verge of being stopped.
At this point, the village of Ting Yang predominantly produces green tea and Penyang Contou only accounts for 5% of the entire 400 tons produced on an annual basis.
Right after Penyang Congou comes the Golden Needle tea. Although the Golden Monkey tea has leaves that are either twisted or coiled, the Golden Needle tea is known for its straight, flat, and needle-like leaves. These leaves also have a unique and perfectly polished sheen. This usually happens, as they are mildly heated in woks and eventually rubbed against the metal part of them. Owing to the consistent rubbing, they develop this striking sheen. Interestingly, this is so well-rounded that it is never overpowered by strong flavors.
Right after this tea is the Golden crab variant of tea. This is a relatively lesser known tea. Of every other tea belonging to the Panyang Congou family, it is only the Golden Crab that is plucked in a truly unique way. These teas are finely plucked as bud and leaf. They are eventually classified into four high-quality grades and the first among them is the Panyang Golden Needle. Also known as the King of Golden Needle, this tea has as incredibly fine leaf and the maximum portion of the top. Right after this is the Golden Monkey which has a slightly bigger leaf and fewer tips. The Golden Crab grade of tea is usually larger. Finally, the Panyang Congou tea has the maximum leaf and with the least bit of tips. This tea, however, has a more complex and brisk taste.
While buying the Panyang Congou tea, it is especially important to focus on the leaves. Check if the leaves are small, dark brownish and coiled. The best grade of Panyang Congou will have only a few golden hued buds that are tactfully blended in the mixture. The infusion would be in a dark caramel hue with a hint of copper. This tea goes through a complex manufacturing process where it gets a perfect pluck of a single leaf and bud. In addition to assessing the leaves, here are the next few things you should ensure.
If you’re buying the tea online or from an organization that you’re not very familiar with, it is always better to take the smallest possible amount. This will help you ascertain whether the tea is worth a shot.
If you have any queries about the tea or the leaves, clarify them with the seller. If they are not able to answer the questions, politely move on to another seller.
Customer testimonials are one of the best ways to know whether the tea you’re buying is really good. Most individuals will leave their honest opinions about not just the tea but also the service offered by the sellers.
Once you follow these simple practices, zeroing in on the best tea will be easier.
Since the Panyang Congou Tea has complex flavors, you’d not be able to enjoy them if you don’t brew it well. The key to successfully brewing this tea is by maintaining proper water temperature. Ideally, the temperature of the water should range from 205 degrees Fahrenheit to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and you should steep it for around 4 to 5 minutes.
You can either drink the tea plain or add cream, sugar, honey and a dash of lemon juice to it. Ideally, you should have two and a half to three teaspoons of this tea against 6 oz of water.