Can I just say? Receiving my first order from Chicago Tea Garden made me very happy. All the teas came in tins, each with little tasting cards and all neatly packed. It’s nice to see prettily presented tea. Of course, as pretty as it is, nothing can compare to the smell. Not of the package itself (that just smelled like box, so no leaking tea flavors) but once I opened up the tins and stuck my nose into the tea… Seriously yum. Across the board.
Last night I naturally had to bust open the Sticky Rice Pu-erh, something I’ve been craving for-freakin-ever since I had my sample. But this morning, I get to delve into something new. It was a tough choice but ultimately the smell of this one won me over. Because, really? The smell is crazy. There is so much going on I can’t pick it all out – sweet, smoky, bakey, tart, acrid, flowery… I can’t stop smelling it! The leaves are so pretty, too. Tiny, wiry little delicate-looking things. Brewed up, the smell has changed and mellowed, but it’s still pretty wow. It’s mostly bakey with some sweet and floral and toasted thrown in.
Oh man. What to say about the taste? It’s awesome. Just as complex as the smell, it is by far the most complex Keemun I’ve had. Sweet, bakey, smooth, bright, tart, floral… all of these words popped into my head while I was sipping. Each sip brings me different flavors. Sometimes it makes me think of grilling a flower then drinking the nectar out of it. Other times I think of raw sweet potatoes with a bit of honey.
This is not a fast sipping tea. Because of the complexity and how the taste seems to change and expand from sip to sip, I find myself taking slow sips, just enjoying the flavors for a while. I can’t help but roll the tea around in my mouth, making sure ever surface is coated, before swallowing. Because there is this beautiful aftertaste when the air hits my mouth – very floral.
I would say that this is not a tea for everyone. The husband is not a big Keemun fan in general because of the smoky/roasted taste it has can come across as sour or acrid. And this one has those same notes – they are soft and smooth, blend beautifully with the rest of the tea and I read them as more of a sweet & sour or raw potato taste and I kind of love those flavors in this (and typically in Keemuns in general). So if someone doesn’t like Keemuns for that reason, I’m thinking this might not change their mind (I will have to use the husband as a tester sometime to confirm). But for someone that likes Keemuns or someone that would like them if perhaps they had more depth, this one would be a winner. It’s truly fantastic.