90
drank Guangxi Hao Ya A by Tea Embassy
115 tasting notes

Note: Their website currently calls this just “Hao Ya A” but when I got the package of it, it is labeled “Guangxi Hao Ya A.” It’s description is that it is their highest quality of Keemun.

A good Keemun is one of my favorite black teas. But I am very particular about my Keemuns. I have sampled many supplier’s Keemuns, from standard grades on up thru 2nd and 1st grades, to Hao Ya A and B grades. I find that while high grades typically look more refined and have a more uniform leaf size, usually a small size, it doesn’t mean their flavor is always superior in my opinion.

A really good Keemun has that unique flavoring of a hint of smokiness mixed with pine/oak nuances and some hints of fruit notes, followed by some notes of chocolate. It’s hard to describe but once you take a good one, I find it not replicated in any other tea.

I pit this particular Keemun Hao Ya A against 3 other Keemuns I found enjoyable from previous samplings in a blind taste test which I and my wife took part in. I equalized all the parameters, side-by-side cups of equal size, same hot water source, equal steep timing, equal sweetener (sugar, I’m not a hard-core tea drinker of black teas who omits sweeteners). This tea came out as our number 1 pick of the 4 Keemuns. It’s leaf quality was not notch and it’s flavor profile was really very good. This is one I could recommend fully to those who love a really good cup of Keemun.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I agree with your Perfect Keemun requirements, more or less. It’s more grain-y for me that it is for you, it seems, but otherwise I agree. I found that for me the best Keemuns are actually the lower grades, the higher grades often being too floral in flavour rather than smoky.

LadyLondonderry

I have a similar situation with Ceylons. The high-grown ones seem to be the ones preferred by connoisseurs, but the low-grown ones are the ones I like best. I guess they’re looking for extreme subtlety and I’m not. :)

Teaman

I know what you mean. I have found some Keemun’s that are wonderful but are labeled “Imperial” or “First Grade” or even “Second Grade”. I’ve paid a bunch for Hao Ya “A” and the “B” is better or not as good as the 1st or 2nd grades. That’s why I do taste tests, 4-5 cups brewed identically at one time. It’s fun and I get to know which one I like the best for re-orders. :)

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Angrboda

I agree with your Perfect Keemun requirements, more or less. It’s more grain-y for me that it is for you, it seems, but otherwise I agree. I found that for me the best Keemuns are actually the lower grades, the higher grades often being too floral in flavour rather than smoky.

LadyLondonderry

I have a similar situation with Ceylons. The high-grown ones seem to be the ones preferred by connoisseurs, but the low-grown ones are the ones I like best. I guess they’re looking for extreme subtlety and I’m not. :)

Teaman

I know what you mean. I have found some Keemun’s that are wonderful but are labeled “Imperial” or “First Grade” or even “Second Grade”. I’ve paid a bunch for Hao Ya “A” and the “B” is better or not as good as the 1st or 2nd grades. That’s why I do taste tests, 4-5 cups brewed identically at one time. It’s fun and I get to know which one I like the best for re-orders. :)

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I love loose leaf tea! While I gravitate towards black teas, I’m getting more into oolongs, greens and whites. I’m always looking for great fresh new teas to try. This tends to lead to the problem of ordering more even though I already have way too much.

My collection of tea has kind of gotten out of hand. After taking over several kitchen cupboards, it has spilled into the back hallway now with containers of tea stacked up there. I think I need more hours in the day to drink it all.

I’m also a vegetarian who loves dark chocolate, photography, travel, computers, web programming, technology and cats.

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near Portland, Oregon

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