Saturday, September 28, 2013

Little Red Cup Tea Co: White Monkey, A Tea Review

Remember how I said it would be a great idea to log a bunch of tastings in my fancy notebook in case something came up that might prevent me from tea tasting? Guess who is probably getting oral surgery early next week, yeah, that always messes up my sense of taste and figuring out what is going on in my mouth, plus the morphine makes me loopy. Of course this would happen when I have a mountain of new teas heading my way! Enough whinging, on to tea-ing! Today is the first of two samples sent to me by the generous Little Red Cup Tea Co. a company bringing pure, whole leaf, Chinese teas by way of Maine (one of my favorite states, just for reference) plus they are very reasonably priced which makes a poor little cichlid* like me happy.
Beautiful fuzzies!
The first tea, White Monkey from Hunan Province, is neither white or a monkey, but it is delightfully fuzzy (this fuzz is called Trichomes, for the botany minded types) and very lovely to look at. White Monkey is actually a fairly delicate green tea that was picked very early in the season and in a lot of ways acts like a white tea. Full of mystery and fuzz, just the way I like my tea! The aroma of these downy leaves is sweet, like hay and fresh vegetation, like walking through an overgrown field. There is also a rich undertone of muscatel that is wonderfully mixed with the initial sweetness. A very fresh aroma that is both mellow and invigorating. It always amuses me when a tea can do that.

Once the leaves are taking a nice swim in their warm bath the aroma takes on a floral tone, a nice comparison to the initial field aroma of the leaves (the field has bloomed! Spring to Summer) it fades to a mix of muscatel and bright citrus. A pleasant little zing at the end, a wake you up from your daydreaming about fields. The liquid away from the leaves has the aroma of fresh hay, very mild and pleasantly sweet.

I love drinking fuzzy teas because it always tickles just a little bit. The taste is what is important, not the adorable fuzz, this first brew I gave a short steep and it produced a delightfully mild tea. The primary taste is vegetal, like spinach, mixed with mown hay. The aftertaste is gently sweet with a tiny, tiny hint of flowers. As the tea cools it takes on a quince flavor with a bit of tartness.

The second steep I let sit a bit longer to see what other flavors I could glean, as per recommended from the website. The aroma is much more green and takes on a real body that honestly I thought of as crunchy. Odd I know, but that was the first thing that came to mind 'this smells crunchy.' The taste is much more intense! The quince taste that was noticed once the tea cools is much more prominent and is accompanied by a citrusy tartness. There is a strong vegetal aftertaste that wraps up the tea nicely. As to be expected the second steep is not as fuzzy. A nicely mild tea that is one that is good for anytime drinking.

*Cichlid, Ben finds it cute to call me that since I love fish and I am sickly. It is adorable and it also means I am a fierce Pacu!

1 comment:

  1. Yum, this sounds like a really satisfying tea. The moment you mentioned quince I wanted it. As always, love your reviews!