89

Wow, another good Keemun!
I’m really happy to have stumbled upon this company – both the teas I bought from them really exceeded my expectations.

Really pretty leaves with a preponderance of golden buds. I’d have trouble telling this apart from Silk Road’s Golden Monkey by just looking at it, but the leaves are a bit smaller here.
I’m on my second preparation of this today. First time ’round I used 4g per 125ml with steep times-temps: 1.5min-95C, 3min-90C, 4min-85C, 5min-85C, 5min-100C. Second round I used 2g per 125ml and drank from continuous infusions using 95C water and finishing at around 27 minutes first brew and 15 minutes second brew.

Dry fragrance is a bit like hay in a barn… a clean barn, but still – straw and hardwood. Wet aroma pops up with some tart apple smell and more resinous redwood. Liquor carries an apple and pear cider aroma mixed with toasted sesame seeds, flax seed, and whole wheat pasta. Tacky smelling and sort of carries a smell that reminds me of a cork board.

Flavor is a tad earthy and ever so slightly bitter, like a potato or pear carries bitterness. Balances nicely with the refreshing crisp qualities it has. Toasty, and certainly “Keemun-like” but it’s a mellow one. Soothing yet with a touch of spice. Cassia, nutmeg, and allspice. Aftertaste like the taste the air takes on around dry sand or river rocks – slight dusty tasting mineral quality I feel as a bit “spicier” than more clay- or gravel-like mineral tastes. Very pleasant, and adding dimension to this approachable tea. Aftertaste brings a bit of that flaxseed back from the front and ends on a brown rice note. A bit of dried fig/prune comes through at the end of a very long infusion. Flavor has a slow recession, but the aftertaste doesn’t linger very long at all. I usually prefer a very long lasting aftertaste and aroma, but this is the second red tea I’ve enjoyed greatly today that fades quickly.

Maybe not as complex as the Xian Zhen from TeaSpring, but every bit as enjoyable. Smoother, and with a little bit more body, though the flavor progression is a soothing flow in, then out with little trace. A huge plus for me is this is slightly less consistent between brews, developing from crisp and floral (orchid and honey notes mentioned in company description come through easily at first), to fruited and ripe, to toasty and salivating tannin, then richer wood before receding to bamboo, pecan and slight caramel accents in later infusions.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Bio

Tea Geek.

My focus is on Chinese Wulongs and Pu’er but I’m all over the place. I tend to follow a seasonal progression of teas, following the freshness curve of greens through summer and rounding the cooler months out with toastier teas and Masala Chai.
With the exception of Masala Chai milk tea I’m a purist at heart. While I was originally snagged by Earl Grey with bergamot and make blends for gifts, I very rarely go for scented teas or herbals and can’t remember the last time I bought a tea that was blended. Pure tea is just more interesting to me than the product of mixing flavors. I do understand and appreciate their existence, though.

I upload some blends I make or special prep teas I nab under the company name “Green Raven Tea and Coffee” and the vast majority of these posts will be blends crafted to create flavors/characteristics not inherent in any one particular tea.
I’ve worked as a tea buyer for a smallish cafe and try to keep apprized of shifts in offerings even when not selecting for a business so I wind up sampling a ton of wholesale samples from a couple companies in particular but try to branch out to as many companies as I can find. Until Steepster integrates some form of comparative tasting feature, none of my cupping notes will make it onto my reviews unless wrapped up into something I feel compelled to drink multiple times on its own.



Since all the cool kids are doing it, here’s my big fat ratings scheme:

0-12…..Ugh, don’t wish on anyone
13-25….Bad, won’t touch again
26-37….Huh, not worth the effort
38-50….Meh, unremarkable
51-62….Okay, good tea
63-75….Tasty, really good tea
76-87….Yum, wonderful
88-100…Wow, really spectacular

There shouldn’t be many postings at all from me ranked 26-50 since unremarkable teas are unlikely to make me remark on ’em but to “earn” a score 37 or below I have to be disappointed to the point where others may ask for a refund or turn down offers even when free or offered as a gift (beyond stale).

I’ve got a ton of respect for anything rated 63 or higher.

For a tea to get 71 or more, it has to be pretty special and kinda blow my socks off.

The 90s are reserved for wonders that make me reevaluate my views of the world of tea as a whole.

Location

Santa Rosa, California, United States

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