80

This is a comparison tasting against Keemun Concerto and Keemun Encore; see further notes here http://steepster.com/Tea_Bird/posts/36237 and http://steepster.com/Tea_Bird/posts/36241

The strongest color (barely, Encore is close) and the strongest aroma of the three, though it isn’t as smoky as Encore. Sipping Jackee first: strong, slightly sweet, slightly astringent, smokiness lingers in the mouth and throat, but in a sweet rather than harsh way. I feel like I need a palate cleanser. PB&J will have to do.

Jackee tastes bolder (for both better and worse) after Encore; richer and more complex after Concerto. More smoke comes out as it cools. No caramel, for those who follow that saga – my water was probably too hot for that.

Jackee’s complexity is still quite present through the milk. I can see why he’s a champion, and I’ll miss him when he’s gone.

Round 2 shows more of how special Jackee is, though; he held up much better to a second steep. Color is still a warm reddish gold (compared to the amber of Concerto and Encore). Flavor is still bold, though not nearly as much as on the first steep, but also sweeter and more approachable.

This has set the bar for quality Keemun, for me, and I would likely buy more over time if it were available. Since it’s not, I’ll just have to keep looking for another tea with Jackee’s complexity and endurance, and enjoy my Concerto in the mean time.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Stephanie

Thanks for the comparisons! Maybe Jackee is a blend of keemuns and that’s why he’s so great?

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Stephanie

Thanks for the comparisons! Maybe Jackee is a blend of keemuns and that’s why he’s so great?

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.

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