115 Tasting Notes
This is a super amazing flavored Assam tea. I like my Assams malty and flavorful without much if any astringency. I control the later by keeping my steep time under 2:30 minutes. I have tried many Assams and some are great and some not so. This one has a variety of flavor notes… yams is perhaps the strongest, chocolate and plum, giving a nice sweet finish. This is one of the best Assams I’ve tasted from the 2012 harvests.
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.
Included this in a taste test with 4 other assam teas I have. This one came out #3 of the 5, ahead of SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio Assam Melody, but behind TeaSource’s Panatola and Ramanugger assam teas. I drink my assams black with sweetener. I steep them 2-2 1/2 minutes to keep astringency away. This is a very good Assam tea.
Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This was my first try of this tea from their sampler 4-pack. This one came out #5 behind TeaSource’s Panatola and Ramanugger, InfusionOfTeas Halmari and SpecialTeas Rembeng. This one has a rather noticeable yam flavor note in it. Since I like yams I wasn’t sure if this was a positive or negative. I decided it was out of balance compared to what I like in a good Assam so it pushed it down the ranking. The brew was lighter more yellow than the others darker more amber coloring. I drink this black but with sweetener. I would not order up this one given the other excellent assams I have found out there.
Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #2 behind TeaSource’s Panatola but ahead of InfusionOfTeas Halmari, SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio’s Melody. This is a good assam tea, with a nice malty smooth flavor with no noticeable astringency. I drink it black but with sweetener.
Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #1 ahead of TeaSource’s Ramanugger, InfusionOfTeas Halmari, SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio’s Melody. This is an excellent assam tea, with malty and caramel notes and smooth flavor without the astringency. I drink it black but with sweetener. I haven’t seen this one on the TeaSource.com web site in some time so I’m not sure if they will ever get it back in. A great Assam if they ever get it in again!
Did a taste test today with the last I have of this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #4 behind TeaSource’s Panatola, Ramanugger and InfusionOfTeas Halmari. Still a good assam but I think the age had it’s affect and it’s flavor was a little duller and did have a tad bit of astringency probably because I steeped it a tad beyond what I should have.
Visited the Tea Zone in Portland yesterday and asked about any new teas of the owner. He stated they had some new Assam teas in that were not yet on the menu list. Great I thought! I asked for a malty one and he suggested this one. It comes in organic and non-organic, yet he states that their flavor profile is quite different between them because they are grown in different areas.
I tried this tea at my brunch there yesterday and liked the tea so much I bought some to take home with me. The leaf is very dark, virtually a black leaf. There are no tips in it at all. The leaf is cut but offers large chunks 1/4"+ in length. The brew is golden brown and reveals a bold flavoring. It has the malty flavoring but also has a bit of a yummy sweet potato flavoring along with other notes I can’t quite put a finger on. It’s a complex but delicious flavor. I’m really enjoying this as it’s yet another addition to my Assam collection that is different from my other tippy and malty Assams.
Got a sampler of this yesterday and had to try it. I love Yunnan teas and also a good malty Assam. Well this tea attempts to blend both of these together and does so very well. I had never thought of combining a Chinese tea with an Indian tea but given the peppery flavor of a yunnan and a malty flavor of a good assam, this is really a winner. The resultling combination is really yummy. I think the Yunnan flavoring is slightly stronger in this than the Assam. I had forgotten the description of the tea since ordering it. Most blends involve Assam tea and given they come from India, Himalayan grown teas are usually more similar to Assams. So I was expecting this to be like an Assam. However when I smelled the aroma of the tea I was surprised to find it being more like a Yunnan. I sampled the taste and had the same reaction. It was good. I then went and looked up the description and then remembered why I had chosen it. Now I wished I had gotten a whole bag of it. This is going to go on my order list for next time.
This is my after-lunch tea today and it’s not tasting good to me. I may have put a bit too much leaf in my mug but it’s tasting like bleh! The muscatel is hard to find in amongst the rest of it. It could be dried lawn leaves for all I know. I’m not sure I’ll finish this. I liked it ok the last time I had it, but not this time.