Monday, March 17, 2014

Upton Tea Imports: Rose Congou, A Tea Review

I have decided to start a new craft project that will take an eternity to complete: I am going to make perler bead sprites of all the Pokemon. Yes, I want to create all 718 (for now, I am sure there will be more before I get close to the end) of them, I started last night and not counting all the Eeveelutions I made months ago I have created the first six. I predict I will get the first 50-60 done before I run out of beads! Also, in the art department, I have taken up sketching and created a flash diffuser for my camera.

Today's tea is Rose Congou from Upton Tea Imports, a Chinese Black Tea scented with rose blossoms. Interesting tea fact of the day, Congou is more of a description of tea rather than a specific type, coined in the 19th century from a translation error, specifically from the Hokkien dialect pronunciation of Gongfu. So basically the Chinese exporters were saying that it was tea made with great skill, and the American and English importers thought it was a type of tea. To be fair there are black teas that have Gongfu (or Congou) in its name, Keemun, Chaozhu Gongfu Cha, and Panyang Congou, and conviently all three of these have been identified as Congou at some point in tea's history, so at least the misunderstanding is understandable. The aroma is sweet and heavily rosy, reminiscent of an English rose garden during high summer. Perfumed and heady with a hint of muscatel and earthiness, so it is like having tea in said rose garden.

Once the leaves have been steeped the aroma becomes a bit more earthy and muscatel, but with hints of oak wood and cocoa. There is a subtle sweetness, and of course roses, however the roses are no where near as potent as their dry leaf counterparts. The liquid smells both rosy and a bit malty with a creamy after quality. It has a subtle sweetness as well and is quite delicious smelling.

The taste of the tea is heady and heavily rosy. There is a very faint sweetness, not much of one until the aftertaste. This tea is quite bright and really wakes up the mouth, it also does not become overpowered by the roses, so it is a good balance of base tea and added flavors. I really love this tea with a splash of cream and sugar, making a tea version of one of my favorite drinks, Rose Milk. Adding the cream and sugar makes for a floral and decadent tea, and it brings out some mild muscatel quality. Delicious.

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