I received a gift of this tea in the mail from a fellow tea lover. Tea people are THE BEST! And Keemun is one of my favorite tea types, so let’s get down to business!
The package says First Grade China Keemun but the website puts it the other way around as China Keemun First Grade. This is an entry level Keemun with an astonishingly low price, so if you are not overly picky and want a daily drinker, this would be very economical.
The aroma of the dry leaves is very nostalgic for me. It smells just like the tea section of A Southern Season, harkening back to my earliest explorations of tea. This smells like TEA. The aroma is bracing and rich, and very comforting to me.
I erred on the side of caution and made this more like they would in China with a slightly lower temperature and a short three minute first steep, followed by a four minute re-steep.
Wow. I can not imagine taking this to five minutes with boiling water unless you are adding milk and sugar. Strong stuff.
I am getting no cocoa at all, no chocolate. The overwhelming impression is tobacco and wood.
There is a touch of wine or muscatel, like a darjeeling. There is a definite natural smokey flavor, not like lapsang but rather the light smoke often found in daily drinker Chinese black tea.
The aroma had so many layers and was so rich that I really thought the tea was going to blow me away. But it isn’t quite my favorite profile. I enjoyed it without milk or sugar with my breakfast, but this wouldn’t do double duty for me as an afternoon tea or a dessert accompaniment.
What I think it WILL do very well is sweet iced tea. It has the heft and smoothness to carry it off.
UPDATE: I made it as a sweet tea and let it chill overnight because we all know iced tea tastes best after it has had time to meld.
The taste really surprised me. I thought it would be a really classic iced black tea flavor but somehow the fruity aspect really amped up, to the point that it almost tastes like a flavored tea! Interesting!
Not a favorite Keemun type for me, but glad to have tried it. If you like winey Keemuns and are looking for a super economical price point, this is worth checking out.
Want to Know More About This Tea?
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Upton Tea Imports
With its rich flavor profile and smooth mouth feel, this standard grade Keemun represents a great value for a China black tea. Hints of wine and a suggestion of smoke round out the earthy, full-bodied cup.