Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Little Red Cup Tea Company, Wuyuan Black

Little Red Cup Tea Description:
Good black tea can be sublime — rich, robust, fragrant. Our Wuyuan Back (Wuyuan Hong Cha 婺源 红茶) is all of those and more. It makes a lovely rosewood colored brew, the scent signaling Tea Time. It is grown in Wuyuan County in the northeast corner of Jiangxi Province, not far from Anhui province, the origin of Keemun teas. Wuyuan Black is technically a Congou tea.

Wuyuan Black can be made as light or strong as you prefer without fear of bitterness. It’s a lovely go-to tea, suitable for that first cuppa in the morning, a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up, iced on a hot summer’s day or even for a nightcap for those who like a cup before bed. We generally have several pots of tea available all the time, and this is always among them. It is simply everything a great black tea should be.

Sample provided by Little Red Cup Tea Company

My Review:
Before I get into this tea, I want to comment on Little Red Cup Tea Co.. I find the company goals refreshing. First off, they want to offer, "the kinds of teas that our friends routinely drink in China: simple, traditional, whole leaf varieties... Though our teas are of fantastic quality, we’ve priced them for everyday consumption. These are not for special occasions, to be brought out with the fine China. Instead, they are teas that you can drink throughout the day..." Secondly, "we want to act as sustainably as possible, maximizing the positive aspects of international trade while minimizing the negative. This is the reason that every tea we sell is certified organic with the USDA, and certified fair trade by Fair Trade USA." This was taken from their Our Company page. I just thought it important enough to share.

Today's tea came with this nifty tin. Though the tea sample I received was separately packaged in a resealable bag, it is my understanding if you buy 100g of tea for $11, it comes in this tin.

When I opened the bag I was momentarily transported to a barn during my childhood where the bales of hay were stored. It doesn't have the slightly sour fresh cut scent. It is more the deeper condensed scent of dried barn stored hay. Wait, there's more. It also packs nifty notes of malt.

The tea leaf itself is dark twist of leaf with some lighter silvery streaks.

I once again used the trusty clear glass press for my brewing vessel. Along with about 3g of leaf I added 10oz of 210F water. The steep time was 2:30 minutes. This came from the tin. The website calls for 4 minutes. That is kind of the standard range for black tea and I normally trend toward the shorter times until I know how a black tea will affect me.

This one pours a nice caramel color. It looks like good everyday loose leaf black tea. It smells like good everyday loose leaf black tea.

The wet leaf is dark small broken pieces - but no where near dust or fannings.

There is zero bitterness here. I am not noticing any dryness. I think this one could go a 5 minute steep easily. I'm also pretty sure you could heavier on the leaf. That tells me this is a very forgiving tea. Perfect for early morning when you can't be trusted with accurate measures or telling time.

What I taste is dark sweet and leafy. I catch just hints of smoke underneath. This is not a tea that is going to blow you away. Then again it isn't trying to impress. What you get is a simply and solid cup for your basic everyday needs.

You could serve this hot and straight. It would not mind if you added a splash of milk or a little honey. It would even work nicely iced. Your friends, who aren't into tea like you, would recognize it as tea. What more could you ask of an everyday workhorse tea?

You can find Little Red Cup Tea Company, Wuyuan Black here.

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