drank Anhui Keemun by Adagio Teas
953 tasting notes

Since we’re all about changes to Steepster the last day or so, I really wish there was a way for me to sort my Tealog by tea type. So that I could, for example, key in “Keemun” and get everything containing Keemun I’ve logged so I can compare how I rated them, rather than having to remember which ones I’ve had, what they were called, etc. Please please please put this at the top of the list for new changes, O Steepster gods. As my log gets longer and longer it gets harder and harder to sort through stuff and it would be great not to have to read each blend’s description to know whether it includes Keemun.

I know I’ve had Keemuns before in blends, but the only thing I can find in my log that is called “Keemun” is another Adagio, the Keemun Rhapsody, and a Life In Teacup Keemun Black Tea Grade II. It has been a while but judging by my ratings, I liked both. This one appears to be a crowd favorite so I was psyched to try it as my last black tea of the day.

The dry leaves are quite pretty, very small and delicate looking. They remind me of seeds. Dark green and tippy. They smell like smoke to me on first sniff, but as I sit with the smell I get a definite cocoa note and a bit of leather underneath the smoke.

Steeped, the aroma is not very smoky and richer, with a baked bread quality at the surface and saddles underneath. The liquor is lighter than I expected, a sort of chestnut color.

What is fascinating to me about this tea is that on first sip, I’m not seeing what the fuss is about. But as I follow the flavor from the sip through to the aftertaste, the complexity of this becomes apparent. It reminds me of how a really nice wine becomes even nicer as it breathes.

The beginning is mellow leather, the midsip is sweet, smoky bread, and the finish is buttery sweet wood with a tiny dash of salt and spice. The mouthfeel is soft, and thick without being too clingy. The aftertaste goes on and on. A bit of smoke, a bit of sweetness that isn’t quite cocoa but could be and isn’t quite malt but could be.

This deserves some attention to see whether I’ve steeped it as well as it can be steeped. I suspect there is even more to this that I’m not yet getting. I’m more in the Angrboda camp on this one than the Inguna and Auggy camp at this point. It’s lovely, but to me it isn’t perfect. Of course I’m entirely willing to attribute that to user error.

ETA: The wet leaves have a sort of spicy, salty smell that reminds me of olives!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Leather, Wood

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 7 g 25 OZ / 750 ML

I love your description! It’s making me want some, and I’m not usually a big fan on Keemun.


If you get a chance to try this one, you should. It really is something special.

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I love your description! It’s making me want some, and I’m not usually a big fan on Keemun.


If you get a chance to try this one, you should. It really is something special.

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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