Imagine this pleasant little scenario. A cooling wind blows through a beautiful Asian garden. A lone but serene little Chinese monk breathes in deeply. The air is clean and fresh, all in the world is good, or almost. What he’s really missing is a nice cup of tea. Trouble is, the tree branches are far too high for him to reach, and in any case the mountain is far too steep for his aging legs him to climb. His clever pet monkey however, senses that Master would love a cuppa. So the monkey scales the mountainside, picks the tealeaves, and brings them to the monk. And the tea was good. So good in fact, that others started training the local monkeys to pick it. Or that’s how the legend goes anyway.
Not sure how true all this is, but as a tannin connoisseur of sorts I am always eager to try a new and exotic tea. Monkey Picked Tea is certainly exotic, but far from new. According to the manufacturers the practice of tea picking by monkeys dates back thousands of years and was once quite widespread. These days though, apparently the art has all but died out, only flourishing in remote villages in the mountains of China. They go on to insist that the simian workers are treated with the utmost respect and are valued members of the community at large.
All this does seem a little hard to swallow, but the Monkey Picked Tea itself is not. It is actually a rather fragrant and pleasant brew, with a nice rich flavor. It did, as the package promised, manage to calm and relax me a little, but I’m not sure about the putting me in divine touch with my monkey ancestors part (no excessive banana cravings or desire to through poop at passers by to report as of yet.) Monkey Picked Tea is not particularly cheap, but considering the conversation that it is bound to begin at afternoon tea time, and the fact that it actually does contain a lot of rather healthy anti oxidant ingredients makes it not a bad investment at all. I just wish those clever little monkeys would take a fancy to a little moonlighting in the good old United States, as I love my apple trees but hate picking time. I’d be perfectly happy to invite them to tea if they would be willing to pick those hard to reach, but oh so juicy looking fruits that are just too high for my queasy stomach to try to reach.