I’m getting frustrated trying to find an inexpensive Keemun to stock up with. What gets me is when it is described as “floral” and I get smoke. How could floral notes stand up to that? I thought Red Blossom Tea would be a great source as even their inexpensive teas can be great, such as Organic Golden Monkey. The fact that they said almost nothing about it, made me hold off, but I recently went ahead and gave it a try. Unfortunately, I bought two bags because I was so sure I would like it. It is alright and I can drink it, but the smokiness is off-putting. I hate to quit trying them, but how can I tell which ones will taste like Lapsongs?
How are you brewing it? If a tea is too strong & off putting sometimes a shorter steeping time can fix the problem.
Also Keemun is not a smoked tea so there shouldn’t be any smokey notes to it. What it is is just a strong black tea. Maybe look for a black tea with more of the golden tips. The tips are the sweetest part of the plant and will make the tea a little smoother & less astringent.
Why are you looking to buy so much of a tea you dont like?
It’s true for many people Keemuns do have a pseudo-smoky note to it. Just because it isn’t smoked like Lapsang is, doesn’t mean it can’t have that sort of naturally occurring pricklyness to it. For me, it’s mildly smoky in flavour, sweet and grainy underneath, but I can definitely see how some people could experience the smoky note as floral.
All these descriptions of flavour and aroma experiences should really be taken with a grain of salt. Nobody experiences them in exactly the same way and we don’t always get the same associations from them. It isn’t really something that we can discuss the rights and wrongs off. If just one person believes they can taste a particular note, then it IS there. Even if others can’t find it. We cannot taste with their tongue or smell with their nose, so we can’t say they are wrong.
If you are looking for something floral and Keemun as a type consistently gives you a smoky experience, then I’m not sure there’s really anything that can be done about it. I would try exploring other chinese blacks, and off the top of my head Chingwo might be a good place to start. Surprisingly, I’m not going to point you to my own favourite, the Tan Yang, because if you dislike Keemuns, I’m not entirely sure that one would appeal to you at all. Bai Lin might also be intersting for you. I got a fairly distinct orange-y note out of that one.
I find some Keemuns a little smokey – although I know they are not supposed to be.
Have you tried a Yunnan Golden Bud.That’s a nice black tea. I don’t find them to have any smoke, generally.
Thank you, I wasn’t sure if it was sometimes smoked and sometimes not, so this was quite informative. Actually, I DO like Keemun very much, which is why I’ve been trying to find a nice affordable source for an everyday tea. Unless it has that smoky note and then I don’t care for it as much. That is why I love reviews and people’s impressions before I try buying a tea.
Yesterday I tried adding a little of a Yunnan Gold that I wasn’t drinking much (a little light for mornings) and that actually rounded out the flavor very well. 3 parts Keemun and one part Yunnan made it very passable. I won’t rebuy it, but I’m glad that I can use it up without feeling penitential.
I like Keemun as well — at its best, it has a rich, dark chocolate-y note that is wonderful. But the last few I’ve tried have had a smoky, almost leather-y note. I don’t like that harsh taste.
Right now I’m liking the Keemun from Golden Moon; it’s a little particular about the steep time, but it has that chocolate note I crave.
Ten Ren’s Keemun #1 is reasonably priced and floral to my taste.
To be honest, I think I am done with Keemun, at least for now. I thought Golden Moon’s was awesome, and I brewed some this morning and didn’t care so much for it either! I guess I have just lost my taste for it. I have a whole bunch to go through, but I also have a bunch of Yunnan Gold, so it should work out.
One Chinese retailer mentioned that aging decreases the smokiness of teas, so I am testing whether that will help.
Losing the taste for a tea happens to me all the time. I love it, I stock up and then I don’t love it so much anymore. Time brings me back and then I have another totally different tea experience:)
Keemun black teas vary quite a bit and the Anhui area where they are grown is a unique micro-climate and I often find Keemuns display the weather transformations and mixture of earth and rain quite well. Dark plum is the predominate note of many of the ‘good quality’ Keemun’s I’ve had, but I think notes of fruit leather and horse leather sometimes become dominate. I’ve had a few that were deeply (almost pu erh) earthy and some that were lacking in any sweetness and displays tart tannic profiles. I often find I enjoy these teas more in winter and in the fall as hot teas, but also find they make good traditional English breakfast mixes and can add complexity to cold brewed iced teas. They are also good to steep into milk and make Keemun Plum icecream with, adding a elusive note that adds complexity and interest in the way the ice cream blooms in the mouth.
There are different kinds of keemun tea with a wide range of prices and also there are so-called keemun tea in the market which in fact isn’t produced in Qimen county or its adjacent areas. Here are the keemun tea of all the types and grades: