drank Keemun Hao Ya A by Art of Tea
155 tasting notes

I am a big fan of keemun tea, and consider the smoky character to be a key aspect of the tea. However, the smoke so dominates this tea that I can’t really enjoy it.

The aroma is very smoky: to the point of making me think about Lapsam Souchong. All I can smell is the smoke. The taste and finish are likewise dominated by the smoke, making the tea one-dimensional, though the complex character of keemun is what normally draws me to the tea.

Once I get over my initial impression, I can just enjoy the raw power of the tea. As I said, I do like a smoky tea. I also discovered that the second steep was in many ways better than the first: the smoke is subdued, letting the flavors of the tea peek through. The finish is still dominated by the smoke.

As an experiment, I tried steeping a pot with half my usual amount of tea: only 0.8 grams for 6 oz of water (3 minute steep). The smoke is no longer overwhelming. Although I can’t detect the tea flavors, the tea is good this way. Still, I wouldn’t change my ratings, since the tea is still one-dimensional.

Note: It is possible that I am reviewing the wrong tea here. In late 2013, Art of Tea only has a Hao Ya (with no A) and that is the tea I am reviewing.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Retired engineer/physicist.
My ratings will usually be based on multiple tastings. Oolong teas are generally 3 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 1 minute. Black teas are 1.5 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 3-4 minutes. Pu-erh is 3 grams in 3 oz, generally 20, 20, 30, 40, 60 sec.

My numerical ratings are all based on how much enjoyment I took from the tea. Since I prefer blacks and oolongs, they will receive higher scores. I also give a couple of extra points to decafs, just because I can drink them in the evening without staying up half the night. I don’t dislike flavored teas, but find that they lack the complexity of finer teas.

90-100 = superior, worth a high price
80-89 = Excellent. Will buy again
70-79 = Good tea, but probably won’t buy
60-69 = Nothing really wrong, but…
Below 60 = Wouldn’t drink again



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