Red Circle Tea

The Red River of Szechuan

The rain won't stop. It's here for a few days, so I'm waiting it out and learning as much as I can and tasting tea and studying in the mean time.  This morning I tried a new tea: Szechuan Red River.  It's a simple tea, but interesting, sweet and when it's the top grade, delicate and intoxicating. It's like a juicier, less smoky Keemun.

Szechuan isn't known for red tea, in fact, it's known for green tea, Er Mei San is there, and quite a few well known green teas are grown there. But this tea is from Yi Bing.  It rains there, a lot. It rains 1000 to 1300 m a year. This varietal can be picked early, and the best crops come in the spring, but the yield is bigger in autumn.  But the picking season for this tea can last up to 200 days, which is quite a long time, meaning, basically this plant gives tea until it goes dormant, then buds again quickly.

This method of processing this varietal was started in 1979  and this tea was designed and destined for the export market: northern Europe and Russia. The varietal is called Early Tippy White tea. The Gong Fu grade of this tea is very tightly twisted leaves (think Dan Chong, but tiny).  The leaves are mostly buds, and the size is incredibly uniform.

They have quite a bit of golden hair to them, and when processed, this teas sugar caramelizes giving it a super sweet taste with notes huge notes of strawberry (strawberry cobbler, to be exact).  Doesn't that make your mouth water?

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