14 Tasting Notes
This came to me as a sample with my recent Mandala order. It is my very first sheng. I posted about this tea on the pu-erh discussion and I mentioned that I think those who say pu-erh newbies should avoid shengs at first are kinda full of it. This one is very accessible. First steep is a little grassy and vegetal. Second there was slight bitterness (not in a bad way), more depth and little bit of butteriness and as it cools slightly, a little grape taste. VERY nice grapey aftertaste. Third steep very grapey aroma – fruity/floral with a little astringent buzz on my tongue. Number 4, still very pronouced grape aroma and more pronouced grape flavor. I REALLY like this. There is still a slight astringency but it is mellowing. The color is a paler green-gold and the aftertaste is less pronounced. Fifth steeping – it is thinning out now, with a bit of hay taste and more astringency. Aftertaste is similar to the fourth steep with a little bite. Sixth steep, aroma is less grapey. On first sip, all of the flavors have really mellowed. The astringency is dialed back with just a wee bit on my tongue and still a little muscat kind of grape but subdued. I’m going to stop here. This tea is beautiful. Love it. Nice qi buzz.
Breakfast tea this morning. I liked this. It is a lighter amber and a lighter body than most keemun I’ve had, but has a nice aroma – very slight honey with more pronounced malt and “keemun-ness.” This one is more subtle that a lot of keemuns, very little smoke. There is a winey aftertaste that I quite like. While I like for my morning tea to be a little more assertive and full bodied, I think is a perfect afternoon keemun. I tried a sample and have probably another round to go. I don’t get much of a character change as it cools down. Due to the fact that I have a LOT of keemun, I’m not sure I would order more, but that shouldn’t be seen as a knock on this tea. It is good but it is not as full as I normally like my keemun. I would probably think of this as a “gateway” keemun for those who find other keemuns a little too agressive.
Well sigh. I was really looking forward to this tea. It does have a great story. But alas, the tea is barely above average. I think of it as an “almost” tea. It is almost Keemun. It is almost rich and full bodied. It is just not quite all there, even with the aroma. It is reminiscent of Keemun. I would recommend this tea to someone who likes aspects of a Keemun with less intensity. There is a caramel note. Overall this tea is ok, but it just doesn’t have much “presence”. I forsee this going to the boyfriend box (and i bought a 3.4 oz tin) or if someone wants to try it, I would be happy to send a sample in the US.
I got this Keemun from The Herb Bar in Austin. I’m sure it its re-packaged from a wholesaler, I just don’t know which one. I am a Keemun devotee. Sadly, I dislike this one very, very much. This has an overpowering creosote taste and aroma. I finished it, but was not happy about it and did not resteep. Maybe a second steeping would have been better, but I disliked the first so much that I just couldn’t. It has very sharp edges, which might not be so bad if it didn’t taste like I was drinking tar.
I received this as a sample from Summit Tea Co. with something else I ordered. Visually, it is absolutely gorgeous. This may not be an entirely fair review as I am not a fruity tea fan. Not even a little bit of a fruity tea fan. In reading the description, I realized I might not like it, but decided to try it with an open mind, thinking that maybe it was nicely balanced and possibly not entirely fruity. OMG, the smell almost knocked me over before I could take a sip. OVERPOWERING fruit. Fruit on steriods. The first sip was worse than the the aroma. This is a boldly fruity tea. If you really like fruity teas, you may well enjoy this. Very very very strawberry. I tried letting it cool down some, but it was still undrinkable for me. YMMV, but this goes into the “boyfriend box” – he will drink all kinds of things I don’t care for. I will come back and add to this review after he tries it to balanace out my anti-fruit bias.
The problem that I find with most chai is (that I dont mix myself) is that it is not assertive enough. This one goes a step beyond assertive straight to aggressive. To love this tea, you must LOVE chai. And I do. This one is big and bold and in your face spicy – perfect for me. It is microground so you need a very fine strainer or it will be a little gritty. I am of the opinion that if you’re going to drink chai, you need to go all in and that’s what you get with this tea. It is the best chai I’ve ever had. The spice level is turned to 11. It is hot, with all of the spices nicely balanced. Too many chais rely too heavily on cinnamon. You taste all of the spices here. It brews a very dark cup and you can drink this in lieu of using an eyelash curler. I use a small amount of almond milk and a very small amount of honey in this tea. I usually prefer my tea nekkid, but this one benefits from accessories. If you don’t adore heavy spice, you will be unhappy with this tea, but if you really love chai this will make you glow. HIGHLY recommended for chai fans.
You get to start enjoying this Keemun before you sip. There is a distinct honey aroma that pleases my nose mightily. It is a deep amber in the cup. This is not overly smokey, but the smoke is there in background. It is winey and full bodied with the distinct “keemun-ness” that you would expect and honey notes. I I like this especially in the afternoon and brew it frequently at work around 4 pm several times a week. I love this tea and recommend it highly.
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