Back in 18th century China, hand-harvested tea leaves were hardly considered to be impressive loot. Only monkey-picked tea leaves, it seems, qualified as choice picks. As it turns out, a group of resourceful monks had trained monkeys to pick the choicest leaves from wild tea trees growing in the Wuyi Mountains of the Fujian province. This rare collection of tea was then presented as a tribute to Emperor Qian Long in 1741, making its way into the discerning tea rooms of the Imperial Court. 

TWG Jasmine Monkey King Chinese New Year tea

In an elegant nod to the monkey's historic association with the world of tea, TWG Tea has released a special tea blend to commemorate this year's zodiac star. The Jasmine Monkey King tea blend joins the brand's Haute Couture Tea collection and features a base of Chinese green tea — composed of fine tea leaf buds and young leaves — fragranced with the floral notes of night-blooming jasmine. The delicate profile of this tea allows it to be enjoyed with such Chinese New Year treats as love letters, almond cookies, and pineapple tarts. 

Available at TWG Tea boutiques from 14 January.