I love a good Keemun tea. This usually means a high grade variety such as a Hao Ya “A” or “B” grade. A good Keemun has a flavor profile that I don’t find in any other tea that is unique enough I personally refer to it as the “Keemun” flavor. It’s a mix of dark chocolate, smokey, piney, oakey, and earthy notes as best I can describe it. I have found over the years that there are other Keemuns out there that have this flavoring (more or less) and are excellent Keemuns deserving of the name.
I’m a fan of the TeaSource.com which I have no connection with other than a happy customer. The owner shops for his teas personally and picks good ones most of the time. “Good” is subjective hence I say “most”. Their Keemuns are no exception. They carry several (when fully stocked), such as the best Hao Ya “B” I’ve ever tried. But this one is one of several Keemuns from there that are worth mentioning. Besides their Hao Ya “A” and “B” grades, I have tried their Grand Keemun and now this Yi Ji Keemun.
The tea leaf of this Yi Ji is nearly on a par with a Hao Ya A grade. I would say it’s the A grade quality without the price of it. It is small tight consistent black leaf that is very nice quality with a pleasing aroma with dark chocolate notes noted from the bag. I steeped it 3 minutes at near boiling. The brew is dark and bold. On a scale of 1-10 for having the “Keemun” flavor profile, I’d say it’s an 8 or maybe 9. It’s a great value Keemun, with the only thing lacking in this excellent Keemun is maybe a shade less of the light smokiness of a good Keemun. When I say “smokey” don’t think Lapsang Souchong or Russian Caravan. It’s a very pleasing hint of smokey with a oaky/piney flavor that is wonderful! So again, this tea has a shade less of that but it’s still a really great Keemun, well worth the price! This tea has a smooth flavor bold enough for milk but I take it black so as not to mask the Keemun flavor too much. I don’t detect any astringency even at 3 minutes and it’s a tea I love.