Tea of the morning…..
I am trying to get an idea of where this one sits in the line up of Keemun. It does have fewer yellowy tips than the Hao Ya A I have on hand, but it is very similar to my Hao Ya B in appearance. The golden tips are there, just not as prevalent in comparison to the Hao Ya A, and definitely more prevalent than the lower grades. I know that there is a specific grading system for Keemun tea, and in my short online research for a listing of the levels, I can’t really find a good guide in English. I might have to dig further. In comparison to my lower grades of Keemun, the leaves on this are narrower, but about the same length. I am throwing out a guess here, but the fineness might have to do with the part of the plant it comes from. Tips and first leaves are often smaller than leaves further down the stem in my limited gardening/botany experiences. So perhaps the higher grade Keemuns come from leaves closer to the apex of the branch? I did do a bit of reading on Teavivre’s website, and it also has to do with the part of the season they are harvested. My extrapolation of that….the earlier harvest would be the bud and first leaves of the season, the later harvest would still be the buds and first leaves, but produced a little further down on the plant? (I am going based upon my experience with roses and dahlias here…..the apex flower is always the best. Once it is picked, it will produce more flowers, but they are not as big or vibrant as that apex flower of the season.) One of these days, I am going to find that information!
As far as taste….I was thinking it would be easier to detect a difference in taste between this one and the Grade 2, since I am not a tea master. I do think this one is smoother and less earthy (although the Grade 2 is only lightly earthy in taste). Definitely a little less astringent at the end, even though neither is really all that astringent at the end when I brew them properly. The chocolate note in this is more of a darker chocolate.
A very good cuppa the morning!
Usual mug method, a little light on the tea, and a 3 minute steep.