Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Teavivre
Absolutely exceptional, premium Keemun Hao Ya black tea
- Handmade Gongfu process tea from Qimen county, Anhui province
- Dark black, glossy thin buds topped with golden tips
- Makes a bold copper coloured tea
- A bold but smooth, fruity taste with a lingering, mellow aftertaste
- Moderate caffeine (less than 20% of a cup of coffee)
- 1-2 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 194 ºF (90 ºC) for 2 to 3 minutes
Rated as the best of Chinese black teas, Keemun is an absolute delight to drink. TeaVivre’s Premium Keemun represents the highest quality of this tea generally available to the public, and has a taste, aroma and appearance that completely justifies its reputation as one of the best black teas in the world. Handmade in Keemun’s birthplace of Qimen, this tea is simply stunning.
I strongly agree with the above description of this tea. It truly is a stunning tea. From the moment I opened the pouch, I could smell the smoky tones of this tea, but I liked that it wasn’t an overwhelming smoky note.
And while I’m touching on the subject of the packaging (or rather, the opening of the packaging), I’d like to take a moment to discuss this packaging and just how impressed I am with it. The outer pouch is one of those resealable, “stand-up” Mylar-type packages that is completely opaque which protects the tea properly by not allowing any light to reach the tea leaves. It is air-tight and will keep air and moisture out and away from the tea. Inside the Mylar pouch is another pouch (not resealable, this is just a thin, foil-like pouch).
While this type of packaging may not be considered the most environmentally sound packaging available, as someone who has been involved with tea for many years, I can say that this is one of the most respectful packaging that I’ve encountered. Respectful to the tea, that is. And that really MEANS something to me. I have encountered some tea companies who are all about the money and while, yes, a profit IS important to any tea company, the product should be at least just as important. Teavivre has proven to me that they care and respect the teas they represent … and this is evident, not just by their packaging, but also by the exquisite tea itself.
The smokiness is stronger in the scent than in the flavor, although the smoky tones are certainly present in the flavor. Beneath that smoky top-layer, I can taste many wonderful layers, creating an intense complexity that surprised me. Sure, other Keemun teas that I’ve tried have been complex, but, this one is unique in just how exceptionally bold it is, while still maintaining the complexity I’d expect from a top quality Keemun.
That is to say that this tea is a hearty one, making it a perfect choice to enjoy with breakfast. It has a wonderful, smoky kind of caramel-y sweetness that is delightful, and beneath that sweetness I can taste a fruity tone that is reminiscent of a sweet, dry wine. But this tea has far less astringency than a typical dry wine … or even a typical black tea, for that matter. Instead, it is incredibly smooth despite its somewhat rustic smokiness. There is a certain sophistication to this cup, making me think more of a brandy than a wine (although, I’m not all that comfortable making that comparison, as I’m far less familiar – not at all familiar! – with alcoholic beverages).
This is absolutely one of the best Keemun teas I’ve yet to try.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Narien Teas
Keemun Hao-Ya A is a top-grade Black Keemun tea from the town of Qi Men in the Anhui province of China – north of Fujian.
Prominent silver tips which brew into a reddish-gold cup with a full-bodied fruity, sweet flavor.
This is an excellent Keemun, one of the finest I’ve tasted.
The tea brews up very dark and almost looks like a cup of black coffee! The flavor is much better than coffee though, so says this former coffee drinker!
This Keemun is rich and full-bodied. It has a fruit flavor to it that reminds me of fresh plums ripened in the summer sun. The flavor possesses notes that are slightly musty and woodsy. There is a burnt-sugar-like sweetness to the cup as well that is nicely contrasted by a savory bitterness that hits the palate at about mid-sip. It finishes clean and dry like a fine wine, but with a lighter astringency than a wine might have.
I prefer Keemun teas when hot and this one is no exception. I find that the notes come across much more distinctly when the tea is hot … as it cools the flavors do become slightly muted. This Keemun tastes great served straight, or with a little milk and honey, if you like. It makes a great wake-me-up tea in the morning, and might be a little heavy for an afternoon tea – not for me though, because at the moment I am drinking this later in the day.
A spectacular Keemun!