China Keemun Imperial (No. 502)

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Not available
Sold in
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Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Auggy
Average preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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18 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I had meant to drink this plain but apparently my brain was still on autopilot this morning and I went ahead and dumped a bunch of milk into this tea. Blah, I hate mornings - at least it's...” Read full tasting note
    67
    JillDragon 1585 tasting notes
  • “I jotted down some notes in a Word document about this tea because I knew I wasn't going to have time to log this when I wanted to [yeah, I'm a nerd, etc. etc.]. Auggy sent me this tea with the...” Read full tasting note
    67
    takgoti 260 tasting notes
  • “De-cupboarding this one - yay! A confession: this tea? Two years old. Eep! But honestly, it's mellowed out in that time to be a much smoother smoky tea. There's an obvious sweetness that is...” Read full tasting note
    66
    aug3zimm 911 tasting notes
  • “Well, I'm certainly not tasting orchid! Auggy sent this to me with fair warning that it was going to be merely average. I pretty much love trying all tea, so... this one was quite fun to dig...” Read full tasting note
    70
    teaplz 186 tasting notes

From SpecialTeas

Keemun Imperial has an excellent, refined Keemun aroma with a sweet, orchid-like flavor. A soft, rich-tasting tea that is good throughout the day.

About SpecialTeas View company

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18 Tasting Notes

67
1585 tasting notes

I had meant to drink this plain but apparently my brain was still on autopilot this morning and I went ahead and dumped a bunch of milk into this tea. Blah, I hate mornings – at least it’s Saturday.

The tea has a mildly smokey flavour that I’ve found common to most Keemuns. This mellows out into a lightly sweet flavour the reminds me a bit of raw cocoa. I’m not sure where the person who described this tea was getting orchids from – there’s nothing flowery about this tea. I’ve had orchid oolongs before and they were about as different from this tea as you can get!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

I’ve never been brave enough to try milk in a Keemun—I would think it would mess with the nice grainy barn-y flavor.

Jillian

I’ve never heard of Keemun described that – usually I find them to be lightly smokey. Yunnans and some pu-erhs on the other hand, those are the ones I’d liken to malted grain. In any event it wasn’t hideous with milk or anything – I’ll have to try it without soon though.

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67
260 tasting notes

I jotted down some notes in a Word document about this tea because I knew I wasn’t going to have time to log this when I wanted to [yeah, I’m a nerd, etc. etc.].

Auggy sent me this tea with the caveat that it was a possible “meh” tea, but that it was good for comparison purposes. Really, I’m up for trying something that’s going to give me a better range of comparison, so that means I’m game for pretty much anything.

I was surprised to discover that this had a really full flavor to it. Which I probably wouldn’t have been, had I remembered what Auggy had written about it, but I’ve never made claims as to the strength of my memory. Well, maybe except to say that it can suck sometimes.

Anyhow, this wasn’t weak. And I liked that. What I’m not sure that I liked was that even though it had a fair amount of flavor, it felt kind of…flat. Not quite as dimensional Jackee Muntz. It also had a kind of salty quality to it, which I normally wouldn’t mind, but this was tap dancing just a little too loudly for me. Actually, this one probably had the strongest malt taste to me of all three of the keemuns I’ve had so far [Jackee Muntz, Keemun Rhapsody, this one].

What I did like was that it had a sweetness to it. It reminded me of honey. Not gonna lie, I would have liked caramel [still can’t quite let go of that], but I’ll take honey. You’d think that the saltiness and the honey taste would have combined to make something resembling caramel, but for whatever reason, they didn’t come together for me.

In the end, this didn’t combine quite as nicely for me as the other two. The components read much more as separate entities than anything else, and while I think this makes it easier for me to pick tastes out from it, it makes for an overall experience that isn’t quite as enjoyable. I guess it’s kind of like what they say about a well-composed dish. You should be able to both eat the components on their own and combined into a bite and enjoy it all.

This certainly wasn’t horrible, but it’s not going to make my favorite keemuns list. I’ll finish off the sample though, no problem. Thanks for the experience, Auggy!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Ricky

I think I see the trend with these black tea. If you want a bolder cup, you’ll enjoy lapsang. I think it’s a good thing that I’m not ordering Series 2 of A&D.

takgoti

I’ve had lapsang before and yeah, I do enjoy it. Haven’t tried GM’s yet though. I think for me it’s not necessarily…I don’t know. I don’t solely drink black or pu-erh, I drink them all. So, splitting hairs, I’m not sure if it’s bolder flavors that I want, it’s fuller flavors. I like dimension in my cup. I like to be overwhelmed with components. And if I’m not overwhelmed, I want those one or two flavors to be really, really good. When my tea tastes watery, I get sad. And if flavors don’t marry well, that also makes me sad.

Auggy

I know I’ve said this a ton, but this one did benefit from being intentionally lost in my pantry – it got a lot smoother and less acrid. Turned out pretty nice, actually. But yeah, it’s not got a lot of sparkle or anything going on with the taste. It’s pretty one dimensional with no real development or intriguing depth to it. But it’s also one that made me appreciate the flavor and depth better Keemuns have so it’s a good little tea.

Ricky

Well that makes sense. When it comes to food, I prefer stuff that are more bland / lighter, which might be the reason I like lighter tea. Like with spaghetti, I prefer incrementally adding the pasta sauce instead of it mixing all at once. Yes, I’m crazy =P

takgoti

@Auggy It is a good little tea! This reminds me of the Top Chef quandry – where it’s like some of the food really isn’t THAT bad, but when you’re speaking based on comparison [and slanting things for the purposes of TV] it can make something sound worse than it was. It really wasn’t horrible!

@Ricky Oooh, I love spaghetti. Current favorite thing to do, actually – toss it in some olive oil, grate some parmesan cheese on top. Maybe add a bit of rosemary if I’m feeling fancy. Simple. Delicious.

Ricky

Ack, rosemary. It’s too strong for me. Basil for me instead, preferably fresh ones :D Add a dash of salt and pepper, err what else…. nope sounds good enough, ehh maybe garlic salt instead of plain salt.

takgoti

Hah! You do like lighter fare! Probably just means your taste buds are more sensitive than mine!

Ricky

What did I tell you :D, it reflects on my preference of tea.

teaplz

Except Ricky loves pu-erh, which is completely the kicker, since that’s not even remotely bland!

And I love plain-er pastas as well. I actually dislike tomato sauce. I know, I’m weird.

takgoti

Not weird! We all have our food quirks. Tomato sauce can be a little too acidic for me. I require a balanced sauce.

Ricky

Pu-erh is soooooo bland to me. To me it’s standard tea. I can down cups of it like water.

She means, a tomato sauce that’s saturated with flavors ;D. I quote “it’s bolder flavors that I want, it’s fuller flavors. I like dimension …… I like to be overwhelmed with components. And if I’m not overwhelmed, I want those one or two flavors to be really, really good.” Love it! Don’t get sad over tomato sauce, it’s not worth it.

Auggy

@Ricky, actually I think she said, “*I’m not sure if* it’s bolder flavors that I want, it’s fuller flavors.” And your taste grouping doesn’t hold true because I’m starting to really love lapsang souchong and I love Keemun, but I don’t like strongly flavored food. Give me pasta with a little butter and I’m happy. The husband uses a lot of seasonings and stuff in his food and it’s too much for me. I can’t eat it. For me, I think it just comes down to appreciating good tea and the nuances of flavor it has, whether bold tasting or soft and mellow.

Ricky

Well, the idea was to manipulate her words, ahh you caught me :D

Pasta + butter, yum!

takgoti

Dude…that’s not cool!

Ricky

Aww, sorry! * tippy toes away from this conversation now and hides in my tea cupboard *

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66
911 tasting notes

De-cupboarding this one – yay! A confession: this tea? Two years old. Eep! But honestly, it’s mellowed out in that time to be a much smoother smoky tea. There’s an obvious sweetness that is like light honey. It’s honestly not a bad tea at all – I’d buy it again if I had no Keemuns and there was a world Keemun shortage with this as the only one available (whereas with Rishi Keemun I’ve had, I’d rather go without). It’s not the best but it certainly isn’t the worst. Especially after two years mellowing in my pantry.
(PS – Am I the only one that has a fear of typos when typing the word “pantry”? I’m always afraid I’ll end up talking about the tea’s place in my panty.)
(And speaking of typos, I initially submitted this log with the above line reading “tea’s play in my panty.” Oy.)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec
S

shudders I hate that word.

Auggy

Poor Shanti! Avert your eyes! :)

S

It always freaks me out when people refers to their…undergarments as panties.
IT’S UNDERWEAR, PEOPLE!

Heh, this reminds me of that gender test they used to have on The Spark, where you would take a quiz and it would guess your gender…apparently women hate the word “moist” more than “used,” and vice versa for men.

Auggy

Okay, I had to avert my eyes at “moist”. Hehe!
Panties make me think of the diaper covers for little with ruffles on the butt.

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70
186 tasting notes

Well, I’m certainly not tasting orchid!

Auggy sent this to me with fair warning that it was going to be merely average. I pretty much love trying all tea, so… this one was quite fun to dig into!

The smell of the dry leaves was black tea with a hint of something deeper… maybe cocoa accents? I really didn’t sniff them for long. This one is chopped into somewhat tiny pieces, a pretty standard black size. It isn’t anything to look at.

So I brewed this up in 6 oz. of water (per Auggy’s suggestions), and the resulting cup was very dark and beautiful. The scent off the cup reminded me of raw cacao, deep and powdery (don’t ask how I got powdery from a smell), with a chaser of a tart-like smell that I often associate with the Keemun taste. As for the taste… it’s pretty smoky, actually! Not a smoke like a lapsang or a gunpowder, which taste of actual smoke. More like a quality. There’s flashes of a cacao-like taste, and an underlying tart quality that gives way to a bit of astringency in the mouth. In the aftertaste (and in the flavors that linger on the palate after the sip has been swallowed), there some sweetness. Orchids? Hell no. Not even close. It’s just a general sweet. I couldn’t distinguish a flavor from it.

Even though Auggy advertised this as a “meh” tea, it was definitely serviceable. And as I described, very flavorful! I really liked that this wasn’t weak or lacking depth. Is it stellar? No… it’s a bit rough around the edges. I feel like the flavors don’t extend and lengthen. They’re stunted a bit. But that’s okay, because the ones that manifest are pretty good. I could see myself craving something similar to this. Of course, the only Keemun I’ve had in comparison is Adagio’s English Breakfast, which tastes very different from this. This is more full-bodied and interesting than that EB, which tastes more “default” and more along the lines of a variation on a Ceylon.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Auggy

It’s like you read my mind in this review. Smokier than most Keemuns, a bit cocoa going on (and I totally get the powdery smell, too) but the rougher edges and lack of clear depth make it less than stellar. Yeah, I could continue to point out the things that I found in it to, but I’d be quoting your entire review back at you. The good thing with this one is that it has smoothed out since I first got it. So yay aging! And glad you found it serviceable!

teaplz

Wheee really? I actually didn’t read your review for this one before I wrote it, so I’m going to read what you wrote right now… and you said things that I was definitely thinking. Especially the smoky-without-meat comment!

takgoti

Success!

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66
177 tasting notes

This groundhog’s day started with the sound of branches being wrenched from the tree across the street.
Automatically I switched on BBC and start Morning Chores with an Everything-Is-Normal-And-The-World-Shall-Not-Collapse tea from JoeCool. Cairo issues again.
Not using force? That’s good. Slurp- Ooh, nice sweet, fruity malt.
Exactly the familiarity I needed.
Too familiar. This is just like my two current keemuns I’m sick of. Oh well. Still good and smokey sweet. I would imagine this pairs well with BBQ seitan and eggplant.
Ugh. Two hours sleep. A.D.D tasting note. Nearly eleven. Need matcha.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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85
314 tasting notes

I miss SpecialTeas! But I’m finally getting around to opening my sample pouches now. Maybe these teas are part of Teavana’s mix now?

Grainy, bread-y, toasty aroma—strong on the rye and pumpernickel.

Flavor is liquid rye bread with a surprising sweetness! Very, very smooth—no bitterness. I love the sweetness in this—it seems to get more “sugary” as it cools down—almost like molasses.

The taste also kind of reminds me of shredded wheat cereal or malt-o-meal.

I think this would be excellent with milk!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 45 sec

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63
352 tasting notes

Got a sample of this from batrachoid. It’s sad that I have been getting to try some good Specialteas offerings now that they are no longer. It reminds me a lot of the Yunnan black tea I get from the Asian Grocery. I like it and I can now pick this teas flavor out in a lot to the Breakfast teas that I drink. Decent though.

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4 tasting notes

I could drink this everyday!

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75
60 tasting notes

Brewed it a bit lighter today. Still has that distinctive keemun aroma but also a hint of citrus.

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75
80 tasting notes

I stole some of this out of Dale’s desk to compare with the Keemun Special Grade I drank a few days ago. Tastes very similar to me, I guess I just don’t have the refined palette that Dale does. Or maybe he’s full of crap.

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