Thursday, November 1, 2012
Nature's Tea Leaf, Fujian Congou Black Tea
Fujian Congou Black Tea is a quintessential black tea that consists of long leaves rolled into slender, striped tea leaves from the Fujian province in southern China. Congou tea is made from large mature leaves and specifically does not include the bud. With its celebrated history Fujian Congou black tea has a rich and uplifting aroma and when infused has a pleasant, smooth, and rich flavor that promotes balance and harmony.
This is my cup of the morning. The generous 1oz sample was provided by Nature’s Leaf Tea. The packaging has steeping instructions clearly shown on the front. The one thing it lacks is a description of what is inside. I don’t know if that is a plus or a minus. One the one hand, I would rather not have a preconceived notion of what I am about to sample. One the other hand, I have never had a Congou tea before and I don’t know what to expect.
The dry leaf is dark, small, sharp, and wiry. It smells of grain. I used 1 1/2tsp for 12oz of water heated to approx 195F. I steeped for 2 1/2 minutes in my press. The brew is dark caramel and still has the grain scent as does the wet leaf. The leaf is small fairly evenly cut pieces and chocolate in appearance.
There is no question this is a Fujian tea from the very first sip. It has that honey sweet, grainy goodness with more than a hint of malt. It has the yam notes. Yet there is something unique about it as well. It has what I can only describe as a darker edge way low underneath that comes out more in the sweet lingering aftertaste. The cooler the cup becomes the more I am detecting this as a roasted note or light smoke.
As the cup emptied I noticed the scent of the leaf still in the press. It was fruity with hints of chocolate or to be more exact, cocoa. I needed a refill. Cup two is similar to cup one, sweeter with less of the darker notes.
Cup three is lighter and is still very flavorful.
I read a description somewhere on the net that compared Fujian Congou to a cross between Yunnan and Keemun. Yes, I agree. It is very similar to a Bailin Gongfu I sampled but with the Congou I could not bring the chocolate notes out in the sip.
This is a very nice black tea. Fans of Fujian teas will love this. Those who generally dislike black teas, as too harsh or bitter/astringent, should give this one a try.
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