512 Tasting Notes
1 sachet for 300mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.
I’ve ordered this tea loose from Harney and Sons but have yet to receive a shipping notice… been almost a week since I ordered … a bit concerned.
Meantime, I found it in sachet form at a big-box bookstore. A Canadian-law-mandated bilingual instruction label covered up the side if the tin that would tell me WHERE the tea is from … I was pleading with the rainy sky this would be the same Keemun blend as is sold online. Peel … peel … peeeeeel … got the label off. “Ingredients: China black tea.”
The leaves in the sachet are tiny and wiry, with maybe one gold tip in the whole bunch. That’s fine. I am desperate for some Keemun, for some toasty Keemun, and so far, everything’s looking good.
The dry sachets give off a faint grapenuts scent, and a classic China black tea scent.
It’s got Keemun. Toasty gorgeous Keemun!
And as I was typing this note, I got the shipping notification for my Harney and Sons order. UPS says I’ll have my order Nov 12th. Hmm. We’ll see.
I’ve read this is a 100% Keemun blend. It certainly seems to be. Toasty and woody notes, a tiny bit of smoke — like a charred casket, not like a roaring fire — plus bread and flower notes. Lovely. Very comforting.
2tsp for 300mL water (very fluffy tea, guess-timating here), steeped four minutes 45 seconds, drunk bare.
I’ve deliberately not made this tea for a while, so I could experience it again like something new.
Liquor is honey-coloured. Lots of sweet potato notes in his cup, and a fuzzy tingling from the down on the leaves that gets into the liquor. Clean, sun-baked earth. A joy to drink.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, rinsed, steeped 45 seconds.
I admit it: I’ve never done the super-short steeps on oolongs before. Why? I am greedy. I want all the oolong RIGHT NOW. Sometimes that works for me.
Tonight, what’s working better is a quick steep on this amazing tieguanyin. I am getting much more orchid and fruit than I ever have before, on my greedy Western 4-minute steeps. And cream. Oh, my: this smells like a quangzhou milk oolong. Exquisite.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.
La la love it. This tea always makes me smile.
The Yunnan base is a good choice. Lemon with Assam would be too astringent, and with Ceylon too metallic. Smooth. It tastes like real lemons — yay, lemon oil. I want to mix this with some Caravan, and later with some Kenyan Tinderet. On a real lemon kick; a 50gram bag of this treasure doesn’t last me a week.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.
The dry CTC leaves, or, pellets, have no scent.
The liquor is a deep reddish brown, giving a classic black tea taste, quite tannic, with a sweetness in the scent and aftertaste like dark honey. This is a very robust black tea, with heft and malt. The maltiness had a dry finish, not the juiciness of an Assam. I did not expect to like this nearly as much as I do. Strong, assertive, and bright. I expect this could get bitter if steeped much longer.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 4 minutes,
Okay, I can see I used water that was too hot. There’s green tea in here, diva-tastic green tea that’s gone all bitter and harsh. So I need to give this another go … but what a hard sell that will be, because this tea smells and tastes like an artificially-flavoured lemon candy that got tainted with curdled milk.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 5 minutes.
Ooops. Four minutes is my favourite for steeping black teas. I got distracted — what else is new? What I have here is stronger but not bitter. There’s more of an Indian-tea taste: not malt, but some other note you get in some Assams, and very rarely in a Darjeeling, almost a breadiness, with a hint of rose. The honey notes are stronger in the aftertaste. This one is crying out for milk, but I always regret it when I add milk to black tea. Stronger Yunnan-wood notes, too; I think these tea bushes were Yunnan clippings planted in Nepalese soil on the Jun Chiyabari estate. When I say wood notes, I mean ancient trees and clean air, not that woody-sour note some roobios has. A happy accident, steeping this too long.
1.5 tsp for 300mL @ 100C, steeped six minutes.
Two big mistakes here. 1) I oversteeped. 2) I used way too much leaf.
This blend is incredibly potent, some sort of super-tea. Definitely follow the instructions. I knew better, too. I just forgot.
A thick body, lots of Ceylon I think, copper notes, with bergamot a cardamom, all so gentle … and all so packed with caffeine. The closest comparison to this blend would be Ahmad’s English Tea No1, and, while I like Ahmad’s English Tea No 1, it doesn’t come close to Persian Tradition. Excellent tea.