80
drank Keemun tea by coop
1267 tasting notes

From the queue

Husband needed a re-stocking of his Triple B chamomile bags. (Triple B = Before Bed Beverage) This then led to me finding myself in the tea section of the supermarket. Having moved, it’s a new supermarket. Same chain but larger, so they have a higher variety on some things. There was a thread on the discussion boards not too long ago about how it seemed like supermarkets seemed to be stocking a wider selection of loose leaf teas and of a generally higher quality than they did just a few years ago. Danish supermarkets seem to be moving into that trend as well these days, so I thought I’d have a gander. There were some really nice looking tins, unfortunately none of which containing anything I was interested in, so I was just about to move on when I spotted this on a shelf next to some Earl Grey of the same brand. These were standing a little back on the shelf compared to the EG (I imagine because someone took some before me), so they were easy to miss.

Excellent, I thought. It’s a type I’m rather fond of in general and it’s not so long ago that I was wishing I had some Keemun in the house. Therefore, yoink!

I have, however, upon coming home discovered two things about it. One suspicious and one slightly amusing.

The suspicious thing is the ingredients list which reads ‘Keemun tea (from China and Vietnam)’
This is not actually a Keemun tea. It’s a Keemun blend! Boo! Oh well. I suppose it’s still better than no Keemun at all.

The slightly amusing thing is the storage recommendation where it says to not pour it into a different container and that it keeps best in the bag. Like plock it does; it’s a paper bag! And it’s not even resealable in anyway. Not only is that impractical, it’s also not going to offer any protection against air or smell what so ever. LOL! Hand me a tin.

Now, blend or not, the leaves smell lovely. All wooden and leathery, slightly malty and with the faintest whiff of smoke. That, I have to admit, smells authentic enough. I expect this is probably mostly Keemun with enough Vietnamese filler to beef it up and make it cheaper. I didn’t exactly pay a fortune for this and there were 150 g in the bag.

After steeping it smells a bit thinner. Malty and grain-y, yes, and again the barest hint of smoke, but also rather a lot of just hot water. I would have liked a stronger, fuller aroma. This gets better as it cools to a drinkable temperature, but I would have liked it to be like that from the beginning.

The first few sips are indeed a wee bit thin in flavour and the fact that it’s a blend is really showing. It’s got the bone characteristics of a Keemun, a touch of smoke and some grainy notes and a bit of malt. But it’s thin. It’s stretched out and there’s very much an imitiation sort of feel to it. The vietnamese tea that it’s been stretched with is definitely playing a part here. It’s got some low-grown notes to it and I’m sort of getting the impression here of a relatively good quality Keemun stretched by a poorer quality Vietnamese which has roughly the same kind of flavour profile.

That just doesn’t work that way, though! Instead of something that makes me go ‘yay, Keemun!’ I’ve got something that makes me think ‘hm, good enough in a pinch’. If it hadn’t said Keemun on the bag, I wouldn’t have thought it had anything to do with Keemun at all apart from tasting relatively similar.

Again, it helps a bit as it cools and develops, but that’s just not good enough. It needs to be there sooner. Doesn’t lose that rough-around-the-edges imitation flavour, though. It’s not really a smooth tea, this.

I’m not completely disappointed, though. In itself it’s not at all a bad tea. I just don’t think it really does what it says on the box. On the other hand, it’s probably not aimed at people like me who are used to counting on teas that say Keemun on them actually being from Anhui and not Vietnam and who knows exactly what her Perfect Keemun should taste like. It’s probably aimed at people who are used to having bagged tea and once in a while gets a bag of loose for guests or sheer luxury. If I had still been one of these people and I had tasted this, I believe I would have been highly pleased with it. If I had been completely new at loose leaf, first venturing out into buying a higher quality leaf and I had tasted this, it would make me try more Keemun.

On that point, this is a highly succesful blend, I think. For the experienced loose-leaf drinker it’s not really special but perfectly drinkable, but it would make an excellent beginner’s tea.

I shall rate it as the blend it is, not as I would a pure Keemun, and put it here. If it had been a pure Keemun, I’d probably have knocked some 10 points or so off that.

CHAroma

Really interesting review. I love how you presented a positive outlook on a situation that was mildly disappointing.

Angrboda

I reckon for a supermarket tea it’s a step in the right direction. :)

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Comments

CHAroma

Really interesting review. I love how you presented a positive outlook on a situation that was mildly disappointing.

Angrboda

I reckon for a supermarket tea it’s a step in the right direction. :)

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Bio

Ang lives with Husband and two kitties, Charm and Luna, in a house not too far from Århus. Apart from drinking tea, she enjoys baking, especially biscuits, reading and jigsaw puzzles. She has recently acquired an interest in cross-stitch and started a rather large project. It remains to be seen whether she has actually bitten off more than she can chew…

Ang prefers black teas and the darker sorts of oolongs. She has to be in the mood for green and white, and she enjoys, but knows little to nothing about, pu-erh.

Her preferences with black teas are the Chinese ones, particularly from Fujian, but also Keemun and just about anything smoky. She occasionally enjoys Yunnans but they’re not favourites. She has taken some time to research Ceylon teas, complete with reference map, and has recently developed some interest in teas from Africa.

She is sceptical about Indian blacks as she generally finds them too astringent and too easy to get wrong. She doesn’t really care for Darjeelings at all. Very high-grown teas are often not favoured.

She likes flavoured teas as well, particularly fruit flavoured ones, but also had an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black and can happily report that this reclusive beast has been spotted in a local teashop near where she works. Any and all vanilla flavoured teas are still highly attractive to her, though. Also nuts and caramel or toffee. Not so much chocolate. It’s a texture thing.

However, she thinks Earl Grey is generally kind of boring. Cinnamon and ginger are also not really a hit, and she’s not very fond of chais. Evil hibiscus is evil. Even in small amounts, and yes, Ang can usually detect hibiscus, mostly by way of the metallic flavour of blood it has.

Ang is not super impressed with rooibos or honeybush on their own. She doesn’t care for either, really, but when they are flavoured, they go usually go down a treat.

Ang used to have a Standard Panel of teas that she tried to always have on hand. She put a lot of thought into defining it and decided what should go on it. It was a great idea on paper, but in practise has been discovered to not really work as well.

Ang tries her best to make a post on Steepster several times a week. She tends to write her posts in advance in a word doc (The Queue) and posting from there. This, she feels, helps her to maintain regularity and stops her from making five posts in three days and then going three weeks without posting anything at all.

Angrboda is almost always open to swapping. Just ask her. Due to the nature of the queue, however, and the fact that it’s some 24 pages long at the moment, it may take a good while from she receives your parcel and until she actually posts about it.

The Formalities

Contact Angrboda by email: [email protected]
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Bio last updated February 2014

Location

Denmark

Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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