China Keemun First Grade/Upton Tea Imports -Ashmanra-

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

Description

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.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

A Mellow Black Tea/Kaley Tea- CuppaGeek

This year has been something.  Might I even say this might be the worse year I’ve ever experienced at least for my family. . . but I try to always look at the brighter side.  Between all of the nation wide situations going on like COVID 19 and the current political climate here in the States, my family has been hit with a lot of health related hardships that has left a void in our hearts.  But through all of these hardships and what felt like a never ending cycle of bad news and stressful situations, I found solace and peace each and every day within a cuppa tea that was constantly by my side during those hard weeks of September through the present day.  Each day, no matter what else was going on or how I felt- I made sure that I had a cuppa tea at the ready to help soothe my soul and keep me going.  One of those cuppas that I enjoyed was Kaley Teas’s black tea.

The title for this tea really says it all.  No fuss, no complex this or that- this is a lovely black tea that is mellow on flavor but still quite delightful.  Brewed with freshly prepped boiling water and allowed to steep for right around 3 minutes- this tea has a bright note of crisp maltiness with a touch of astringency that really keeps you going sip after sip.  Every once in a while I noted a bread like flavor or a potentially raisin finish.  This black tea stood up to a few steepings and I even think I oversteeped for a moment or two and still enjoyed the cuppa and wanted more.  From the description I found on the tea (after doing some searching on the site), there was some comments about floral and bergamot orange flavors, I’m not so sure my palette picked up on those but I’ll be curious to see if my other SororiTea Sisters do.

Kaley Tea is a company that I’m not 100% familiar with and their website looks like they are still working on bring their story to market.  I’m quite excited to check out their other teas and I just adore how they label each tea with a reassuring title like a mellow black tea or a graceful green tea.  For someone like me who has been finding themseleves looking more for straight tea blends instead of flavored ones, this one is a keeper.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Kaley Teas

Description

Black twiggy twisted tea leaves turn into a light shimmering copper golden liquor with every steep. Floral notes mixed with rice paddy hay provides a distinct base. A finale of bergamot orange and chocolate gives way to bee’s honey, making up a colorful bouquet of delicate & sublimely refined flavours. Bright coppery infused leaves emanate floral perfumes, enmeshed with sugary, citrusy notes.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Karakundah Black/Simple Loose Leaf

Some mornings are no-nonsense; this Monday is one of them. No time for blends. Time for serious faces, email, and caffeine.

This black tea, which I received this month in my Simple Loose Leaf box, is a yummer. (Nope, “yummer” is not a word — or is it NOW a word? Language evolves, guys. Start using “yummer.” Let’s see if we can get it to catch on).

I knew immediately that this tea was from India because of its slightly spicy and raisin-y tones. The name “Karakundah” also helped — the name didn’t ring as Asian. Turns out that this estate is the highest commercial tea estate in the world.

Make sure to share that fact at your next party. You’ll be swarmed with friends in no time.

This black tea’s powerful rich and malty flavor from a single teaspoon made it clear to me from the get-go that it was a high quality pick. And, lo and behold, it turns out that it’s an “orange pekoe,” which is the highest quality of leaf on the grading scale. (The lowest quality is “fannings and dust,” which I’ve heard is what they throw into commercially-available pre-bagged cheap tea.)

Overall, this pick has gusted me into Awake Land in a quality, unfettered way. It met and, I daresay, exceeded my expectations. Nice work, you high-elevation pals. I tip my cap to you.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Description

Karakundah tea estates, found in the Nilgiri region of India, produce some of the highest grade black teas in that region. Commonly known for the medium-bodied cup of tea, Karakundah black teas are highly sought after on the world stage making this tea a prize for international buyers. Serve with or without milk and add sugar to taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

English Breakfast/Steeped Tea

This tea was my first exposure to Steeped Tea, and from what I can discern looking at their website and online catalog, you can “join” and become a Sipologist, selling their products through hosted parties, catalogs, etc. They have a variety of products from tea (including white, green, matcha, black, herbal tisanes, etc.) to teaware, scone mixes, cookie mixes, kombucha supplies, and even hot chocolate. A lot of the teaware is very modern with bold, fun colors, but there are also elegant, classic tea sets.

The English Breakfast tea is simply listed as containing organic black tea without any information as to origin of the tea, and they do not provide this information as it is protected as a proprietary blend. The herbal blends and flavored teas do specify all additional ingredients other than tea, though. I am pleased to see that the herbal selection does NOT contain stevia, as I really don’t enjoy stevia and it has become almost omnipresent in herbals.

If I had to guess, I would say this is Indian tea, and may have a touch of Darjeeling in it. There is a prominent lemony note, which is sometimes indicative of high grown tea, usually a Ceylon like Uva Highlands. It is quite brisk and bright and it tingles the tongue. If you like milk and sugar in your tea, this may be right up your alley. I am a Keemun kind of gal, and I take my tea straight, but I found it drinkable even without additions if you like lots of high citrus notes in your black tea. Don’t expect the deep base notes of Chinese black tea in this one.

The liquor is very clear and has nice color, and didn’t cloud even after cooling down to room temperature.

Many companies now have a chosen charity that receives a portion of the profits, usually from specific products that change periodically. Steeped Tea supports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and they will also help you set up a findraiser with their products.

Check out their catalog online and see if you find something special that is just right for you!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Steeped Tea

Description

Ingredients: Black tea.
Contains Naturally Occurring Caffeine

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea Grade One/AprTea Mall

Keemun is my absolute favorite tea for breakfast. Once upon a time long ago, if you asked for breakfast tea, Keemun was what you were given. These days, even specifically ordering English Breakfast can result in many different types of tea being delivered to you, with Assam or Kenyan tea being the most likely to show up at your table. There are many, many kinds!

But Keemun is gentler on my stomach and still has that “start the day” vibe. Although I rarely add anything to my tea, Keemun can take additions of milk and/or sugar and still shine. The taste is so great as is that I don’t want to dampen it.

This particular Keemun is the middle grade offered by AprTea Mall. I reserve the highest grades for afternoon tea or for drinking by themselves, and I don’t enjoy lower grade Keemun teas nearly as much, but I find a mid-grade to be just what I am looking for in a breakfast tea or to pair with a meal.

The leaves are very dark, long, and lightly twisted. These are whole leaves and not broken bits. The dry leaf aroma is fruity, and the wet leaf aroma is fruity and bright.

It has just enough heft and just enough cocoa or malt flavor to be paired with waffles and syrup and clear the palate without the pucker factor of most breakfast teas. This particular Keemun also has that hint of fruit that earns some of these the designation of a “winey” Keemun, although it is just a hint here and not terribly pronounced.

Overall, I deem this to be a good, serviceable Keemun that I can enjoy as a daily drinker.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  AprTea Mall

Description

Keemun Mao Feng (祁门毛峰): Keemun Mao Feng is a kind of Keemun Black Tea,has a more refined production process.using one bud and one leaf for full fermentation. the shape is cord tight knot small as eyebrow, the luster is Ukraine; tea aroma lasting fragrance, like fruit orchid fragrance, the aroma has this special name “Qimen fragrant” in the international tea market; tea soup color and leaf color is red and bright, the taste is fresh and thick, and even drink with milk and the sweet sugar, the aroma is not only reduced, but more fragrant.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!