519 Tasting Notes

90

1.25 tsp for 250mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds.

Maybe I’m missing something in the information provided by Harney and Sons here, but what has this tea being from the “lapsing area” got to do with any smoky notes? Lapsang soughong is made smoky in the processing; it’s not smoky because of the soil the tea plant is grown in. Is it?

I only ordered a tiny sample packet of this tea, and I’m finishing it today. I’m getting much more of the fruit notes, fruit and honey and smooth black tea. I’m changing my mind on it being worth its price. I don’t think I’ll be ordering any soon, but I wish I could keep this on hand.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dates, Grapes, Honey, Plums, Raisins, Stonefruits

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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92

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes.

My local indie teashop, Britannia Teas and Gifts, no longer exists as a bricks-and-mortar store, though the owner does appear at popup markets. I asked her a while ago if she had any Keemun left, and she did: either in a few 50g bags, or in the great big 2 kilo vacuum-packed brick that came from her wholesaler.

I bought the 2 kg brick. Yeah, that’s how much I like Keemun.

There are grades of Keemun I prefer to Organic Panda # 1, but I am very pleased to have the Panda in my life This is a complex, fairly oaky Keemun, and it can, if you use too much leaf or steep it too long, get tarry. No tar at 5 minutes, though, just some rising smoke. Dark copper liquor. Lots of oak, as I said, and toast, some smoke and orchid, and even some plum-raisin notes in the finish. I’ve tried this Keemun with milk and sugar, and I don’t find either brings anything extra out, but that’s a personal preference. This is a dependable and unmistakable Keemun, taking on some winey notes now as it ages. Decent caffeine punch. It also cries out for blending, maybe with a creamy Assam. A favourite, and each time I drink it, I remember why.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Orchids, Plums, Raisins

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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100

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 6 minutes 30 seconds.

At a longer steep, this Keemun develops more of the classic Keemun oak and toast and distant smoke, even a faint scent like bergamot, while remaining delicate and sweet. Some cream and honey. Copper liquor. I think I prefer it as 5 minutes, but it’s good to know this one forgives a longer steep. A lovely tea. I’ve got a second tin on the way, and I shall be sorry when it’s gone.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Honey, Orchids, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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95

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes, drunk bare.

Dry leaf smells of leather, earth, and pepper. I love a peppery Yunnan. Lots and lots of golden tips.

Classic Yunnan forest floor taste: earthy, with trees. Cocoa, some baked bread. Leather and honey notes in the scent, and maybe something floral. No peppery bite. Some linen in the mouthfeel. Smooth finish. Very good.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Cocoa, Earth, Flowers, Leather, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Michelle Butler Hallett

And it gives a brilliant second infusion, almost identical to the first! LOVE.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Some definite pepper in the second infusion. Ooooh, so happy here.

Michelle Butler Hallett

This is also a very downy tea.

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100

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.

Little tiny curly leaves!

Dry leaf gives a faint scent of Keemun tastiness. Steeping leaf smells very delicate, like fresh earth.

Red-brown liquor. Aromas of bread, toast, oak, and orchid.

Tastes of all that, and some honey. Some sweet potato notes. Light, toasty-oaky finish. Not at all a tarry Keemun. Gentle and sweet. I love it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Grapes, Honey, Orchids, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Michelle Butler Hallett

tastiness = toastiness

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96

Second infusion. 1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped three minutes forty-five seconds.

Yet more complex. the cream and butter notes have opened up, and the scent remains floral. I can also get trees: cedar, and fir. And a very slight astringency, like a dry wine.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cedar, Cream, Fir, Grass

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96

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ 90C, steeped 3 minutes 30 seconds, no rinsing, first infusion.

A short infusion for me, as I’m planning multiple infusions tonight … though even when I steep this gorgeous tieguanyun a long time, I can still get at east two more cuppings from it. On this infuse I am getting a much more springlike sharpness, very green and bright, versus the heady floral tones a 4-minute steep gives me. More of a mineral note this way, too. Complex. And a joy.

I am nearly out of this beautiful tea, and I am telling myself not to hoard the last few scoops but just drink it now and revel in its beauty. There will, of course, more more autumn tieguanyin (I do prefer the autumn tieguanyin to the spring, but the spring is lovely, too), but there will be no more of this 2012 harvest. Hoarding this, saving it for some unattainable special last time, would do this tea, and all oolong, a disservice. Drink it now. The day doesn’t have to be special, but the oolong can make the day special for you.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Berries, Butter, Cedar, Cream, Fir, Flowers, Grass, Mineral

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95

3tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped 10 minutes.

I am not having the greatest tea day. Steepster keeps seeing me these tempting e-mails to join the Steepster Select program, which, of course, only ships to customers in the US. I am not in the US. My profile lists my location as, that’s right, in Canada … not in the US. I have just begged Steepster not to end me any more notes about the Select programs until they can ship to Canada. Meantime, I tried to sign on the Steepster international customer waiting list … and that’s not working.

Earlier today. one of my crutches fell over, knocking a mostly full travel mug of Christmas Morning tea onto my keyboard, my leg, and the floor.

Before the crutch knocked over the tea, I was really enjoying what I’d steeped. The cooler water let the jasmine and oolong in the blend mature and prevented any bitterness. The long steep coaxed out a lovely heavy body from the Assam and Keemun. I hadn’t planned to steep it that long; it just happened — a delightful accident. I must go make some more to soothe the irritation of repeated ‘No Select for you!’

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Flowers, Malt

Michelle Butler Hallett

On an up note: Verdant just sent me an e-mail saying my order has shipped. I also have tea on the way from Damn Fine. Wooo!

Michelle Butler Hallett

And, I should add, Steepster is looking into why users who are outside the US keep getting the Select offers.

Christina

Aww, that sucks that you spilled your first cup. I hope the next one turns out just as good.

Michelle Butler Hallett

(Grins) Thank you — it was.

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1.5 tsp fo 300mL water at 85C, steeped four minutes, Western style.

THUD.

Clean, sweet, perfect. Finest jasmine tea I’ve ever tasted. I find jasmine teas a bit intoxicating. Some jasmines hit like a drug; this one is gentler, though seductive, and potent.

Balance, and beauty. Special.

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96

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped, oh, 10 minutes.

I forgot it.

And I figured it would be all bitter and soapy.

Yeah, guess which tieguanyin forgives a long steep with floral, creamy beauty and a slight sharpness in the finish?

Swoon.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Cedar, Cream, Flowers, Honey, Mineral, Orchids

Preparation
1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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Profile

Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Oolongs and blacks are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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