5 Tasting Notes
Because I don’t have a few hundred to drop on a kettle, I had to settle for Breville’s variable temperature model, instead of the magic brewing basket model I wanted (and even then, this had to come to me as a gift). However, it is worth the price: this is a durable, quality kettle that is straightforward to use and simplifies tea making tremendously. It allows you to brew a pot at the perfect temperature for white, green, oolong, french press (loose) tea, and also includes a straightforward boil setting. It also has a “hold temperature” function. No more holding a candy thermometer into the spout of a boiling kettle, trying not to get a steam burn, when you want a cup of oolong! If you drink anything more complicated than bagged tea, I recommend this model.
I tried this tea during my quest for that strong, bold, yet rounded black tea taste that I crave. A staff member at The Tea Haus recommended their Golden Pu-Erh for its musty edge.
I tried two cups of this tea on two separate occasions, each brewed differently. The Tea Haus’ brewing guidelines suggest a water temperature range of approx. 85C-93C, and a steeping time of 10 seconds to 2 minutes. For the second cup I increased water temperature and steeping time to brew a stronger tea – this tea is VERY sensitive to variations in the brewing process.
Weak or strong, however, I was not a fan. It’s been a week or so since the last cup, so I would be going on memory if I tried to describe the taste exactly, but I think this is the problem: it tastes like it’s been sitting in a cave, fermenting, for five years. I know that’s the point, but it doesn’t work for me: I tasted (and smelled) mould, mildew, damp, dirt, and chill when I drank this tea. It was kind of like rummaging around in a really old basement or antique store, minus the discovery of exciting or valuable treasures. I didn’t finish either cup.
My go-to caffeine-free tea for just before bed. Brewed exactly according to The Tea Haus’ instructions, and served with milk and just a bit of honey, this tea is light and milky, with a sweet, almost chocolate edge. I drink an oversized cup of this almost every evening! I also like the nutrients I get from it, and feel it helps with digestion.
The Tea Haus’ East Friesen is another tea that I tried in my quest for a good, everyday black tea – that comforting first cup you have each morning, for example. This tea came in a close second. It is not as complex or bold in flavour as the Keemun, and even when allowed to steep for up to 5 minutes tastes a bit too weak for my tea tastebuds. It’s a good alternative to the Keemun, though, and I like that it’s sometimes traditionally served with a bit of rum!
Since switching to loose leaf tea a few years ago, I have been searching for a better black tea (one that will satisfy my taste for bagged Tetley, which I grew up with, but still remind me why I switched). The Tea Haus’ Keemun is it! It has a warm, rounded flavour, is bold, yet is not overly acidic and still has a delicate, complex taste. I prepare it with milk and honey but I think it would drink well as a straight black tea.