Hello fellow tea drinkers!
This tea was part of my haul from my New Year’s Eve post about my day out in and around Covent Garden, London.
The East India Company is a name that I had heard before but had not known how established the company and the brand was. I had done a little reading about it though, as it has allegedly had a somewhat controversial past (though I have not found enough to be able to post anything too detailed about it here. If you are aware of any literature about the Company, it would be interesting to check it out.)
“The influence of The East India Company has been well documented. Without The Company our world would not be as it is today. It changed the world’s tastes, its thinking, its people. It created new communities, established trading places and shaped countries. Singapore and Hong Kong owe their existence to The Company and India was shaped and influenced by it.
At one point The Company had the largest merchant navy in the world and conducted and controlled 50% of world trade…”
Source: The East India Company
I’d not heard of the term ‘Congou’ before and all that I could tell about the type of tea from the packaging was that this was a variation of black tea. According to Tea Guardian, Congou tea is usually the whole leaf that is tightly rolled into taut strips and part of the skill is in ensuring that the leaf does not break.
“One tea variety popularly seen in mass market tea in the tins is “Congou”. The term is an early romanization of the Amoy ( i.e. Xiamen 廈門 ) dialect for gongfu, referring to gongfu hongcha ( Chinese: 工夫紅茶 ), the black tea subcategory. The group includes such famous names as Minhong Gongfu ( 閩紅工夫 ), Ninghong Gongfu ( 寧紅工夫 ), Dianhong Gongfu ( 滇紅工夫 ) etc. A gongfu black tea is always whole leaves, thoroughly rolled and twisted to very fine grains.”
Source: Tea Guardian
Unfortunately, there was conflicting information about what Congou was and how it was produced and so I can only go with what I found. Anyway, it is definitely a fine black tea!
Now for the Teaview part of the post…
I bought a caddy of 20 tea pyramids (that’s ‘bags’ to me and you) for approximately £12. It’s pretty steep for a caddy of tea bags but I wanted to try it and thought of it as a treat.
I brewed according to the instructions which recommended that the tea should be brewed in 100ºC water for approximately 3-4 minutes. (Sorry about the picture quality!) I added a little sprinkling of sugar to taste though I have also drunk this without sugar and I was pleasantly surprised.
This tea has none of the bitterness that I sometimes associate with black tea that has stewed for too long. On the contrary, I found this really light and pleasant with a slight sweetness and hint at a lychee flavour. It’s a very easy tea to drink and I read on the site that it would make a great iced-tea in the warmer months. I would argue that almost any tea would be great drunk cold apart from my nemesis lapsang souchong!
(Smoked Ice Tea anyone?)
It can be purchased directly from the website here if you feel like trying something different. Personally, I will be making use of that caddy to store some of my other teas in once I finish this, as I’ll feel like I’m getting my money’s worth with this!
I like it but I’m not going to lose sleep over it (apart from that caused by the caffeine of course!)
Have you tried any gongfu/ congou teas before?
Are you interested in tea production methods and processes?