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Recent Tasting Notes
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this before, but when I searched this tea there was no listing.
This has been in my cupboard for about two years. When I bought it, it was my first Pu-erh and I didn’t know that a little air circulation benefits them, so I kept it in its tightly closed foil bag. When I opened it for the first time in about year, there was a very fishy smell. I took the last three tuo cha out and set them on the shelf for about a week or so. The fishy aroma is greatly decreased, but I wondered if I went too far and the flavor was also gone.
I made this for my son, his girlfriend, and myself to drink after our pizza lunch today. They loved the Teavivre puerh, didn’t care for the Rishi loose Classic Puerh, and liked this one somewhere in between. (They wouldn’t even take a second 2 ounce cup of the Rishi.)
The first steep had the barest hint of fishy aroma, so slight it may have been my imagination. The taste was just good, earthy puerh, though. I gave it about two minutes after the initial rinse, and the color was dark orange. The next steep was darker. By the fourth steep i saw a definitely lightening of the color, but the flavor was little diminished. We took this to six steeps and the last one was getting weak, but was still pretty good. For the price, this is an inexpensive shu with enough flavor to be interesting. I still prefer Teavivre for shu puerh mini tuo cha, but this one is very similar.
I gave this one a revisit today and used Kashyap’s steeping parameters, which called for a lower water temp and a shorter steep than I would give most black teas. To be fair, this tea is probably over a year old. All I got was a cup of tingle, as in astringency, not excitement! I believe this is one that teaequalsbliss reviewed and said it was wonderful, but after it had aged a bit, was awful! I really am not getting anything good out of this cup, so I am tossing the last teaspoon without guilt! Perhaps if the leaves were fresh it would have been good, and I will try this method of making Indian teas like they were all darjeelings and see if it improves my opinion of them. It could be that Indian tea is just not my thing! In the past, I have noticed that most assamica varietals give me a tummy ache or at least lots of rumbles.
Many many thanks to ashmanra for sending me some of this very precious tea to try!
This is one of the most interesting teas I’ve ever tasted! I think it’s called “wild forest” because it tastes a bit like those fresh pine needles that I had in that pine tisane! That piney/menthol/lemonyness… but fine delicious tea too! It’s a great combination and addictive! My taste buds are curious and keep nudging me to take another sip because they can’t quite place these flavors…together!
I’m looking forward to many many steeps today, and will post a comment later on how they evolved!
I was a bad girl. I drank decaf with supper so the caffeine wouldn’t keep me awake, but when I sat down to read I really wanted some flavored tea and I really wanted something Christmas-y since we went out of town and bought my Christmas season Southern Supreme “More Nuts than Fruit” Fruitcake that I serve up until Christmas! So here I sit downing non-decaf tea…
Now, I don’t really LIKE most Christmas teas that much, but I love to smell them. Noel is so pretty I would love to display it in a glass container. There are almond bits, dried apple pieces, orange peel, flower petals….and it tastes pretty good! It is smooth, not bitter, with nice orange flavor. Unless someone tells me that it is really awful (and what Harney tea has ever been?) I am going to Barnes and Noble tomorrow to buy that special pack of their Holiday Tea with the white tea since I just got a coupon for an extra 25% off!
It is a great buy at $15.95 for the two together, and with the discounts it will be even less.
I noticed that Dammann Freres and Mariages Freres have Christmas teas and if they are anything like the other flavored French teas I have tried, I will HAVE to get some! Anyone who has tried them, let me know…..
A very serviceable Yunnan! Less sweet yet gutsy than the other classic Yunnan I’ve tried (HS), but still quite pleasurable to drink, and resteep! I like the second steep even more than the first – it starts veering into “golden bud” sort of territory. Thank you ashmanra for another lovely cuppa!!! :) :) :)
The leaves are very interesting – they are almost…puffy! like chamomile blossoms. Lots of light leaves – very unique looking!
I steeped my first cup conservatively – 3 minutes, 200 degree water – and I think I could have taken it to 4 minutes. No bitterness or astringency, and that wonderful tangy flavor I love from certain Chinese black teas – but a little different. I don’t want to say it reminds me of soy sauce but it has a sort of sweet fermented quality like soy sauce. Really, really good. I can see this tea being excellent with food (I am picturing a rice bowl with salmon and some sort of green – mmmmm!).
The second steep, at 4 minutes, is just as interesting and delicious. What a great, one of a kind tea! Thank you thank you thank you ashmanra!
I have spent a bit of time lately digging through my many stashes and caches of tea and trying to finish some that are nearly gone. Most of them I don’t review, but this one I will because it shows how much my tastes have changed.
This is old, three years old or more. It still has plenty of heft. When I bought it, I could not have taken it plain. One of my first notes mentions it being peppery. Now, I mostly get gutsy black tea flavor. This is not a sophisticated Yunnan like Teavivre’s. This is a tea that will grab you by the chest hairs and pull you out of bed.
>DISCLAIMER: I am female and do not possess chest hairs but if I had them this tea would have yanked me out of bed by them. In the absence of chest hairs, it gave me a nice, swift kick on the patootie."<
I am really enjoying this tea plain this morning. It isn’t quite a SIPDOWN but the next pot will be. It is ever so slightly drying, has that scraping feel I get that reminds me of unsweetened cocoa, though I don’t get chocolate notes from this, and is a bit malty if I understand correctly what malty means. It is rather full bodied.
Our die hard Assam drinkers would probably consider this a pretty tame tea (hi, gmathis!) but it is strong enough for me!
I had this one quite a while back. The friend drinking tea with me was a former coffee lover turned to tea, and takes all tea without additions. This one was a bit too peppery for me.
But JacquelineM suggested steeping for a much shorter time and at a lower temperature, and guess what? It really does improve this yunnan! I know she was using the Harney version which is probably a higher quality tea, but I want to finish this little tin! I didn’t get to try resteeps, no time today because of a writers’ group meeting, but this weekend I hope to try it.
These leaves are GORGEOUS. Long and tinged with red! This is “Taiwan’s Only Black Tea” but it tastes VERY oolong-ish to me. I daresay a little Dragon Ball-ish! It has that sweet lovely pastry quality as it cools. Absolutely delicious!!! The other thing I love about it is that it’s quite the resteeper! The second infusion is sweet and pastry-ish too, and I am going to save my third steep for my noodle bowl lunch! I think this tea will be fantastic with food.
I didn’t expect to taste Dragon Ball qualities in this tea, so it was such a great surprise! I thought that I wouldn’t get to taste it for months and months – so this is like an extra bonus fantastic happy delight!
Once again, this is me being utterly spoiled by ashmanra!! Thank you!!!
Glory be, it’s a SIPDOWN! Why am I excited? I wasn’t letting myself buy any more Keemun until I finished the ones I already have. I am pretty sure this is the last of my last one. The little pile of empty tins is growing. The list of what I can order now is, too!
This was the first tea served because I wanted something fairly neutral to go with our first treat at tea party time. It was Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream, home made. Oo, it is yummy. I just made the basic vanilla ice cream in the Cuisinart book and added a tablespoon of Penzey’s orange extract.
Now I want to search for the perfect crunchy bits to add to it, like chopped almonds or toffee bits. I think it will be good as a float this summer, too. Maybe I will put it in ginger ale or cream soda.
I wanted a good black tea to pair with….a spoonful of frosting. Yes, that is my shameful mid-morning snack. My youngest daughter just made birthday cake number two – with four kids in the family and my godson plus hubby and me, one birthday cake isn’t enough! She did a beautiful job, and now as the birthday person I get first choice on beaters and pans. I chose the frosting bowl! Heh heh. But I really only scraped out about two teaspoons worth or a tad more.
I am really trying to sip down some teas and I am trying VERY HARD not to order more, but I can’t say I have had much success with that part! I have even given away two big boxes of teas lately! And still we have way more tea than food in this house. And way more tea than money. LOL!
I have enough leaf left now for one more pot, and I won’t be replacing this one. I thought I would back when I first bought it. My daughter liked it and it was not bad, but I have had Keemun Mao Feng from Harney and Sons and Organic Superfine Fragrant Keemun Black Tea from Teavivre, and those are superior.
I don’t regret purchasing this. It has served us well and is pretty good, but I am glad to open up space on the shelf for some other, more treasured teas to come in. It was really good with my cream cheese frosting, though!
I needed a black tea for tea party today to go with homemade chocolate chip ice cream and this cake: http://thenonpareilbaker.blogspot.com/2011/09/chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese.html?m=1
Paired with such sweet food, the tea seemed to become even more roasty, more chocolatey. Oddly, I felt like I tasted vanilla with the chocolatey flavor today, no doubt some function of the pairing. Great stuff. So glad I skipped lunch…
This was the first tea of tea party today. I broke with our usual attempt of having black, oolong, and green, or some other form of variety and just made two black teas and one flavored black because I was pairing it with something that I felt needed black tea to carry it.
You see, the lovely JacquelineM sent me a tiny little tea book with recipes in it a while back and today I tried one of them for tea time. The recipe is Pear, Walnut, Bleu Cheese sandwiches on Seven Grain bread, except we could only find twelve grain so we used that instead! LOL! The Bleu Cheese is mixed with cream cheese to spread it on the bread. It was very tasty and I don’t EVEN want to know how many calories were in each little triangle!
The sandwiches were very rich, so I wanted a good, strong black tea to stand up to the flavorful Bleu cheese and to contrast with the delicate pear. It was delicious! Thank you, Jacqueline!
I made this to be the first tea for our tea time today. We had White Chocolate Meyer Lemon Tart, thanks to gmathis describing Meyer lemons last year so enticingly that I had to try them and find recipes to use them! I wanted a good, strongish, unflavored black tea to accompany the tart and this was a delicious choice. This Hao Ya A is very mild compared to others I have tried but we enjoy it and it is especially good paired with food. It can definitely hold its own.
We had this with lunch today. With our food, it was rich and chocolate-y, but after the meal the remaining tea seemed to get a tad bitter. I was drinking it plain and youngest added milk and sugar. It could have been my imagination, or just being really sensitive to the change in taste once it was no longer paired with food. I have a hard time with this tea. Sometimes I really like it, sometimes I find it weak, sometimes it is too strong. It is one of the few teas that have that chameleon effect for me.
I made a pot of this for tea time with my girls today because I wanted to compare it to the Premium Keemun Hao Ya from Teavivre that we drank yesterday. This is weaker than Hao Ya A from Harney and Sons which, to be honest, is too strong for me. Maybe I need to make it differently.
This Keemun has less delicacy than Teavivre’s. I didn’t like it plain and added milk and sugar. Once we started our snacks I had a second cup with just a splash of milk. It is certainly chocolate-y and a little smokey, but for the price difference and the taste I think I prefer Teavivire’s. This one from SS is $4.75 an ounce. Teavivre’s works out to $3.20 an ounce, resteeps well, and tastes good without having to be tamed by additions, at least for me. If you love bold, brash keemuns, you might prefer this one, and Harney and Sons more so. I prefer Teavivre’s.
I had this one plain this morning and it was so…PLAIN! It had that classic tea smell but I didn’t get smoke or cocoa or any of the things I love about keemuns. I need to try it again with food and see if it improves – this is a good time to get out my new Thursday Next book and some Swiss cheese! If you like Keemun tea, stick with Harney and Sons!
I had a cup of this earlier today and thought it was a little bland. I added sugar to make it more interesting. A couple of hours later, the fresh buttermilk bread came out and I buttered a slice and added Smucker’s Red Plum Jam and had another cup without additions. This time the tea tasted richer and the little smokey edge came out to play. It is amazing what a food pairing does to a tea! We like to combine any good flavored tea with cheese cubes as it seems to make the tea so much sweeter.
This keemun has the classic keemun flavor you would expect – cocoa and a little smoke. But it tastes like a resteeping of leaves you had already enjoyed! A while back we tasted this one side by side with the Hao Ya A from Harney and Sons, and this is weak and pale by comparison. If you want full, powerful Hao Ya A flavor, get Harney. If cocoa notes and light smoke are a little much for you, this one should do nicely. My youngest daughter loves this tea and our tea party guest liked it very much as well.
Decided to do a side by side taste test at the tea party today. My youngest loves this Keemun but likes really mild tea for the most part. The Harney and Sons version was more aromatic, more robust, and darker. Although Harney says it is a little more astringent than some Keemuns it was not too astringent for me. I would give it a 1.5 of 5 for astringency! I do not care for astringent or bitter teas. The tea is mild to a fault in my opinion. If you want a good all around tea to serve to a group of non-tea-drinkers this might be your tea. But if you love good, strong, cocoa-y Keemuns, look elsewhere.