59 Tasting Notes
I got this in the recent 5 for $5 sale, and it may have turned out to be an expensive bargain, since I don’t know if I can live without this tea.
I steeped multiple times with 3.0 grams of tea at 1 minute per steep. Complex, and delicious. Not only is the taste good but there is a huge, complex finish that goes on forever. 2nd (60s): still very big and rich. Slightly sweet, with hints of caramel and berry. Raised score from 92 to 94. 4th (3m): Finally ran out of steam; nice but weak.
I really like oolong teas, and this one was just tremendous. I’m a tough grader, but this is one of my all-time favorites.
I find this tea very difficult to understand. I’ve seen the consistently high reviews on Steepster, so jumped at the 5 for $5 sale recently at Verdant. It wasn’t what I expected.
My first tasting seemed to confirm the high ratings. I noted a cocoa flavor, and rated it a 90. However, the second time I tasted the tea, the chocolate had gone AWOL, replaced with a tar/tobacco/shoe leather taste that I didn’t care for. My rating dropped to a 72.
I noticed that my first tasting was gong-fu style while the second was western, so I went back to gong-fu style.
In my most recent tasting, today, I am reminded of one of those MC Escher paintings in which the birds fly left or right depending on how you perceive the background. In my first steep, there was nothing but shoe-leather and tobacco. In the second, I began to see chocolate, but briefly. In one sip, I only taste leather, but in the next, the chocolate suddenly peeks out. I suppose one could view this as exciting or complex, but frankly it is too much trouble for me. My overall rating is still fairly high just because it is a well-structured tea, with good nose, balance, and finish. I simply don’t care for the taste.
This currently is my favorite Keemun, and one of my favorite teas. It starts out with a smoky nose. The smoke dominates the taste initially but than hints of chocolate begin to appear. By the finish, the chocolate is the dominant note, but there are still hints of smoke. This is a fine, complex tea. The finish is VERY long, and powerful. Great!
(ZK27) Smoky nose with undertones of chocolate. Taste has medium body, but builds into a big finish. Not big or spectacular, but in perfect balance with a fair amount of complexity. Not very tannic. I liked this tea a lot, but it isn’t quite as good as some of the other Keemuns I bought at the same time.
The dry leaves have rich aroma; they are longer and more curly than previous Keemuns I have tasted. Less nose than I expected, which was a bit disappointing, but the flavor is very big, with chocolate overtones and lots of complexity. Very smooth and well-integrated. The taste flows smoothly into the long, slightly tannic finish. I really liked this tea.
My initial impression of the tea was that it smelled very much like a Keemun, with only hints of fruit hiding in the background. The taste showed more fruit, but definitely in a secondary role to the tea. The flavor was full and rich with moderate amounts of tannin and acid, but no bitterness. The taste blended smoothly into a good finish.
When I tried adding a bit of Nutra-Sweet, the fruit moved from the background to the foreground, with raspberry and currant becoming more or less equal to the tea in the flavor balance. I’m not sure whether I liked the tea better with or without the sweetener, but it was significantly different. I couldn’t really detect the caramel flavor, and the vanilla was at most a hint in the background.
This tea would appeal to someone who likes a hint of flavor adding subtlety to their tea, not to someone looking for fruit flavor with a bit of caffeine.
My thanks to Laurent at Nina’s Paris for the sample
Added note: second steep almost as good as the first
Mountain tea calls this an oolong, but it tastes more like an incredibly rich assam or Ceylon to me. Very rich nose, taste, and finish, without any bitterness. Rich and complex. I brewed 3.0 gm in 6 oz of water for 1 minute. A second steeping had the same good character but was not quite as powerful