Recently, I was given some American Classic Tea. Currently this is the only tea grown in the continental United States. The tea confusingly says Loose Leaf Tea in a Pyramid Bag, which is a direct contradiction. In many ways this is a traditional red tea, dark color, single infusion, and elements of bright citrus, perhaps too bright, as I’m about to explain; with a full mouthfeel. What makes this tea unusual, and I am unsure if this is because of the tea itself or the packaging that it arrives in, is a strange sour/sweet metallic taste in the forefront of the flavor profile. While not immediately bad tasting, it is very strange compared with, well any other tea I’ve tasted, as if the tea were almost completely devoid of tannins.
How I brewed it:
In terms of brewing trials, I brewed the tea two ways, once in a mug, for 3 minutes, and a second time, where I removed the tea from it’s bag, and brewed it in a gaiwan (lidded bowl) for roughly one minute. Because I got the strange metallic flavor in the first trial, I decided to try making in the gaiwan, sans bag, to see if that removed any of the metallic brightness, which it did not.
Overall, due to the almost unpleasant brightness, I’m going to give the tea a fairly low rating, however it did fulfill the other criteria of being a basic red tea, and by no means is it totally undrinkable, however, there are many, many other better bagged teas, with less ostentatious and incorrect marketing, that are far cheaper and less pretentious.
From additional readings, it seems that it really is primarily used to make iced tea, and sweet tea at that, where one really only uses tea as a carrier for syrup, and the ultra-brightness would likely work quite well.
Origin: Con. US
(Indian + Chinese crossbreed?)
Type: Red (Black)
Packaging: Pyramid Bag, Foil Packet
Plantation/Company: Charleston Tea Plantation, owned by Bigelow
Time 2-4 minutes
Temperature: 205-210 F