1814 Tasting Notes
My best friend has a son who is autistic. Their autism society worker is like family, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer not long ago. She completed her surgery and now has to have radiation, but she is fearful. We invited her over today so I could give her a pep talk and some helpful hints to get through it. (I had it in 2010.) She also asked if drinking tea would help improve her health and prevent a recurrence, so we talked about the benefits of antioxidants, flavonoids, and such in different teas and how they may possibly help. At the very least, replacing sugary drinks with unsweetened tea will help tons! Cancer loves sugar.
She drinks grocery store green tea, but I told her there are things she can actually ENJOY and not just choke down for the health benefits. This was the tea I chose to serve to her today since it has a lot of natural sweetness from the fruits and coconut, and it is so creamy and refreshing whether hot or cold.
The best part was when she said, “I could drink this every day!”
It really is a great tea and I love it especially in the summertime with all of the fruity flavors.
I may have to pick up more in a couple of months when I go to Ireland, but thankfully Gurman’s has fabulous customer service and offered quite a while back to ship orders to the US for us, even the teas that don’t appear on their website but that you know they have in store.
3 tsp. in 22 ounces water, 174F for three minutes
This is a fabulous shu. It is so smooth and creamy, with a thick mouthfeel. There are rich aromas of dark, fertile earth and barn, with a high note of dark cedar, and the taste is sweet and full. I had several cups today, I will be resteeping this tomorrow, and I have a feeling that I will be ordering more very soon. This is one of my favorite flavor profiles in a shu puerh.
Apparently this tea does not exist. It came in a box but the box got a bit flimsy so I put it in a good tin and labeled it as Marks and Spencer – Keemun. And I have had it for a while so it should have already been in my cupboard. Now I find that it isn’t on Steepster and when I google it I can not find that it ever existed. I am pretty careful about labeling my tea, though, so it really should be the right name. Maybe it is just discontinued?
Anyway, I have been making it in large batches as good old sweet tea, Southern USA style. I use about four tablespoons steeped for three minutes in a pot of 212F water, then pour it over two cups of sugar which has 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda added to keep it from going cloudy. Then I add water and ice to bring it up to about five quarts of tea in my large glass dispenser that is kept in the refrigerator.
The leaf particle size is better than dust, but is not whole leaf. I would say most of it is about the size of gunpowder green tea. It makes a decent pot of hot tea but it is really shining cold. It is very, very dark, though, which I thought the family might find off putting, but nope.
Everyone is guzzling it, so I guess I will have to try to get some more when I ….wait for it….GO TO IRELAND THIS FALL! Yes, indeed, I, who have never even been on an airplane, am supposed to go to Ireland in October! I expect I will be coming back with some new goodies from Gurman’s, too! And O’Connail’s chocolates, which you really must try if you ever get a chance.
Maybe I can find out if this tea really exists while I am there…
Backlogging from last weekend: I had this a couple of mornings for breakfast, of all things. Usually matcha and matcha lattes are an afternoon thing for me, often to satisfy the “thungries.” Do you remember that ancient Quik commercial that recommended their product for that?
Those mornings, I had some things to do and my energy levels were not quite up to snuff. I didn’t have time for a sit down breakfast, so I made Carnation Instant Breakfast in vanilla flavor using skim milk. I decided to kick it up a notch by adding 1/2 teaspoon of French Vanilla matcha. It was excellent, and stood me in good stead. Delicious, too, and took the vanilla taste right over the top!
Do you know that song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2? I was singing it every time I had a cup of Keemun tea. I had a memory of what I wanted for breakfast, but I wasn’t finding it. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great Keemuns, but they were either so smooth and fine they were really for afternoon or they were so harsh and brassy I needed milk to tone them down.
But here it is, the very flavor profile I was looking for. I have had a hard time describing the tongue scraping feeling that some teas give. I don’t mean sour astringency, and I usually describe it as the way dry unsweetened cocoa powder would feel on your tongue. But when I saw the mention of “wood” in the company description, I thought of those little wooden spoons that used to come with the rare ice cream cup in the school cafeteria. That is the feeling I mean, the way that wooden spoon felt.
Keemun Grade 1 – I am so glad I found what I was looking for.
I ordered one of the 3rd Anniversary special sample packages when I ordered puerh for my son (and maybe some Jasmine Silver Needle White for me ssssshhhhhhh don’t tell anybody.) This is one of the additional samples I chose.
I drank it with my bestie because she loves the Jasmine Silver Needle and she drinks chamomile just about every night, so I was interested in how she would like it. Also, it is a great opportunity to get friends addicted to new tea so they come and see you more often. :)
I used the whole sample in my 22 ounce pot. When the pouch was opened the aroma of chamomile filled the whole kitchen. It was stronger than if I had straight chamomile! I put the leaves in my display dish so she could she how lovely the tea was before we started steeping. The white tea is so downy, soft, and fluffy, and there are loads of chamomile blossoms and rose buds. Beautiful! But once it sat in the dish, the dominant scent was rose. What a chameleon!
Steeped, I tasted mostly chamomile, but it was made thick and creamy by the white tea. I did not taste very much rose, which is contrary to the experience of one other reviewer.
I resteeped the leaves but I had a student on the way over and lost rack of time. I know I oversteeped it badly, but it did no harm. I drank the whole second pot by myself and didn’t get any bitterness. It’s nice when tea is forgiving!
One thing I know is that this is going in my cart for next order as it is on sale soon. Even though there is caffeine in the white tea, the aroma is so soothing and comforting that I will be craving it on cold evenings this fall.
Edited to add: I forgot to say that this tasted very sweet to me even though we made no additions. Very sweet!
I have had this a couple of times lately but haven’t logged it. Last Wednesday night I drank several cups of it in the evening and was WIDE awake until around 3 am! That may have been the tea, the cake I had with it, or just a fluke.
I had it again today. A friend is moving away and we met for possibly the last time. She has recently become quite sensitive to gluten, so my daughter made some delicious flourless chocolate cookies for us, and I made deviled eggs. It was all we could come up with on short notice that was gluten free! It was good, though, and she really seemed to love it.
This is the friend who thought she disliked tea, and I introduced her to puerh and to Teavivre’s Jasmine Silver Needle and she in turn got her mom totally addicted to puerh. Don’t you LOVE it?
This is a great tea to serve with sweets because it doesn’t compete, it complements. I also like serving it when I think the fats in the food might be hard on the system. I suppose it is preventive maintenance.
This is not a horsey puerh at all, but rather one of the smoothest. It is very mild yet flavorful. We drank two steeps western style in a large pot and the second steep was as good, as flavorful, as dark and tasty as the first. It is not the darkest puerh I have had, but it is indeed very, VERY special.
This tea has lots of meaning for me. It was one of the first “fine” teas I ever bought, recommended from the fine tea wall at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC. The first time I steeped it, I was sure I had done it all wrong. I had forgotten it and oversteeped, yet when I poured it the liquor was light orange. What happened to my black tea?
Instead of being astringent, it forgave me utterly and yielded a cup of raisin-y goodness. Steep after steep.
This was also the last tea I sent to Doulton, a much loved steepsterite who disappeared a long time ago. She was a delight, NAND I was thrilled that she loved this tea.
Today I made it because I am making my own breakfast for the first time in my recovery period, and I knew I might not multitask really well today. (I sneaked into the garden early and tried to hammer a brick clip up with a piece of 2×4 so I could hang some garden art and got caught by my daughter. I had to come in so she wouldn’t rat on me.)
I have absolutely no idea how long this steeped, but it is perfect. Thick, golden raisin taste drained from my cup rapidly. Thank goodness I made a whole pot.
Let’s just call this review a “my bad.”
I had my daughter make this yesterday by SOP. Three teaspoons leaf, boiling water, 4 1/2 minutes, 22 ounce pot. I knew better, because this tea tastes just plain weird to me when made that way. It is Fujian, but doesn’t taste it. It gets a strange taste like…grapefruit that isn’t very good and you hope you don’t have to eat them for breakfast every day.
I enjoyed it when I made it gong fu style. I should have read my tasting notes first!
I have very little left and it is old, so now I am trying to decide whether to throw it away or go ahead and use it for gong fu serving. Why when there are about 200 other teas that I enjoy more? I suppose I can pass it in to someone else and see if they like it, but I hate to do that with teas I don’t enjoy…
My youngest daughter has been spoiling me with breakfast in bed since my surgery. Almost every day I have chosen an omelette made with eggs from my French Black Copper Marans, French thyme, peas, and cheese, accompanied by a piece of whole wheat toast with Bon Maman cherry preserves, and tea. With all the French goodness on my tray, I thought I should add a French tea!
I really, really like this one. For starters, I love the Keemun base that Nina’s uses. I had my daughter steep it for three minutes in boiling water and we had just enough leaf left for two good sized cups of tea. Youngest tried it and said she really liked it. She has just started taking her teas without milk and sugar which has me excited, of course! Hoorah! Hooray!
Although drinking the tea with a hearty breakfast made me miss some of the nuances of the tea, I enjoyed it very much. It was strong enough for breakfast but the fruity flavors still came through.
Drinking this also makes me realize how much I miss Nina’s Earl Grey. I need to order some more soon! Youngest loves Earl Grey tea and Keemun so I will justify buying it by pretending it is for her and not for my stash.