The story of Eureka: Smoky Monkey began more years ago than I want to think about right now.1
It started, as many of my teas do, with a tea survey.
In this particular case the list of favourite teas quite frankly terrified me.
Silver Needle. Golden Monkey. Things I had seen when perusing the sites of my various tea suppliers, and many of them had price points that staggered me. Especially when considering usage as an ingredient in my own teas.
Many I hadn’t tasted.
It made that particular tea of the month club a challenge of a different sort, and I can only hope that I provided some enjoyment over the course of his six months of curated teas.2
Alongside the pricing issues, I also worried about the potential for people being angry about these teas being polluted with other ingredients.3
Fast forward a handful of years and a Twitter friend introduced me to a hashtag. That hashtag was #365Teas.4 At the time I started poking at it, the group was in the middle of a tea-off. Each week, two teas would face off in a poll, and the winner would move on to the next round.
Fascinated, and ever happy with the opportunity5 to learn about more types of tea, I printed off a copy of the contest match-ups so I could make a list of the teas I was unfamiliar with and try them. Can’t vote if one does not know the subject matter, right?
One of the teas on the list was Golden Monkey. I’d been curious about it since I’d first seen it on that tea survey. However, I knew that testing it would be potentially dangerous.
If I like a tea, it is almost a given that it will end up being added to the toolbox. As I was already in a space where some of the pricing felt like it should come with an apology, the concept of adding a different echelon of foundational tea seemed potentially questionable.
A brief, but passionate conversation with the gent running the tea-off and I decided I had to try it.
To my gleeful surprise, one of the suppliers that actually offers discounted pricing (even to micro-businesses) carried the tea.
So, I added some to my next supply order.
The test cup was just as dangerous as I had feared it would be.
It was lovely.
And I wanted to make teas with it.
Within half a cup consumed I already had ideas that needed to be scribbled down for what I wanted to do with it.
The idea one part of my mind fixated on was that it was glorious, but it might be even more so if paired with something smoky.
This might have been the forerunner at least in part because I had recently added Lapsang to the toolbox.
Less than a week passed before I ran the Golden Monkey and Lapsang test blend.
I loved it. Still do. Drink it almost daily.6
I could not keep something so good to myself. Which meant it needed a name.
As #365Teas had been the trigger for me finally trying Golden Monkey, I wanted to have the name of this particular tea salute the other arena the hashtag had opened up for me on Twitter.
I wasn’t sure exactly what aspects or elements I wanted to salute, but I did know that a black tea blend of this sort was likely to become a foundational tea. Something that I used over and over to create other teas. It had happened before, has happened again, and will likely continue to happen for as long as I am still making tea.7
When I tossed the question to my tea community on Twitter, one of the suggestions was using the tea series that would grow out of the creation of this tea blend to celebrate diversity in STEM.8
I loved this. I have some fairly strong opinions on human rights and access and diversity and…
…so, with the basic intent of the tea series figured out, it came back around to needing to name the foundational and first tea in the series.
Two suggestions oscillated in my head and would not go away and eventually merged. One was by the chap who started the whole process by convincing me to try Golden Monkey.
The suggestions were: Eureka, and Smoky Monkey.
In the end, it was decided that Eureka would be the name for the series and Smoky Monkey would be the subname of this tea.
As a special bonus, it made me laugh when it was first suggested, and still makes me smile every time I think about it or see the name of the tea. This may actually be one of the reasons it has become a daily drinker. Tasty and comes with an extra measure of happy brain chemicals.
Now for the basics:
Organic Ingredients: Golden Monkey Tea, Lapsang Souchong Tea
Batch Size: 3 ounces, approximately 85 grams, 35+ servings
LatchTin Batch Size: 6 ounces, approximately 170 grams, 70+ servings
Loose Tea (5 serving sample, Full Batch, LatchTin)
Teabags (Single, 5 serving sample, Full Batch, LatchTin)
Especially given the reasons for needing to re-present all the teas.
This was back in the dark times of Etsy and no subscription options. The current paypal jury-rig did not function within Etsy’s rules. Tea of the Month was purchased in lots of either six months or twelve months. Considering something similar for international clients, but I am still working out the details on that.
You’d (hopefully) be surprised how many times I’ve been yelled at for what I do. Thankfully threats of violence are rare, but they have happened.
I’m not going to vent in detail about Twitter’s current on-fire-ness, but… I have Many Strong Feelings about it.
Things like this are one of the reasons I jest that I pay myself in tea.
None of the teas using Eureka: Smoky Monkey as a foundation have been released as yet, but there are tins with numbers on them waiting for naming.
This tea was originally one of the ChariTeas – teas where part of the profit is donated to a particular cause or organization. This is still the plan, I just need to refigure out some of the math. Once I have that sorted again, this tea will donate to SACNAS.