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Keemun Xian Zhen

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Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by ethos
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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From Our Community

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4 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I should totally start writing it down when people recommend me stuff that they think I would like. Because once again we have here a tea which was specifically recommended to me by a Steepsterite...” Read full tasting note
    Angrboda 1197 tasting notes
  • “A very smooth black tea. Dark brown color. No bitterness. The leaves were a similar color mixture as golden monkey, but smaller. No maltiness in the flavor however.” Read full tasting note
    Kryptryx 89 tasting notes
  • “Preparing this two different ways side by side in glazed gaiwans each with 115ml water. 4g using 3min-98C, 4min-90C, 4min-95C, 5min-100C decanted into a serving pitcher and 3g using a continuous...” Read full tasting note
    ThomasSmith 93 tasting notes
  • “4g tea, 12oz water Dark amber color in steep. There is a very pleasant sweet aroma. Light notes of cocoa maybe some molasses. On the palette it is a very smooth tea, with slight astringent...” Read full tasting note
    ethos 54 tasting notes

From TeaSpring

Xian Zhen, which translates into “Immortal Needle”, is a special type of Keemun teas that you will not easily find elsewhere. This tea is created by the renowned Anhui Guorun Tea Industrial, a specialized Keemun Tea Factory with more than 50 years of experience and history. Not much is known about the formula of Keemun Xian Zhen except that it is processed using a combination of traditional and modern methods, taking the best traits of each method. Although it is relatively new, it has already won many awards such as:
2001 China Wu Hu Tea Exhibition Black Tea Gold Award
2006 Anhui Province Quality Product (by Anhui Tea Industry Organizing Committee)
2006 Tea Product Innovative Gold Award (in Anhui Tea Industry Exhibition)
We carry the highest grade Keemun Xian Zhen that was made using early spring first flush tea leaves.

Other names:
Qi Men Xian Zhen, Keemun Immortal Needle

If you appreciate tea with smooth mouth-feel, then this is the tea you should not miss. It is one of the smoothes black teas around with natural fruity sweet taste.

Small, black needle-like tea leaves. You may also find some golden colored tea leaves in the mix. This tea is made using the most tender, carefully selected one-bud-one-leaf tea leaves.

Qi Men, An Hui Province

Harvest Period:
Spring 2010 (First Flush)

About TeaSpring View company

Company description not available.

4 Tasting Notes

1197 tasting notes

I should totally start writing it down when people recommend me stuff that they think I would like. Because once again we have here a tea which was specifically recommended to me by a Steepsterite and I don’t have a clue as to who it was.

It was somewhat pricy so I only bought a small amount. Even if it’s the end of all awesome, at this price I think it would probably still only be a treat rather than a standard. $23 for 50 grams, I can’t afford that as a standard.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to try, though. It’s not impossible that this actually makes it all the more fun to try.

When first I poured this tea and I stood there in the tea corner, getting a column of steam right in the face, the primary, and very strong, association I had was that of pipe tobacco. Smelling cup now, I don’t really get that at all.

It has something, this tea, something very familiar. Something that I feel I ought to recognise and associate with something specific. This is not an individual note in the aroma, this is the aroma as a whole. I just can’t work out what it is, but I’m getting the clear impression that it’s something that ought to be very familiar to me and also something I haven’t experienced in a long time. This aroma takes me back, I just don’t know to where or when.

When I was a child, my grandfather smoked a pipe. Maybe it is actually a pipe tobacco thing after all.

If we try to break down the aroma a little more, there is a strong grain-y malty note in it, along with something woodsy and slightly spicy. These two notes, I sort of get the impression that they approach me simultaneously. They’re good friends, so they come up to greet me together. I can’t find any floral or pseudo-smoky notes in the aroma though, which I find slightly odd. I have to say I rather miss that note. It’s like there’s something missing.

The flavour isn’t as grain-y either as most Keemuns tend to be. The grain is there, but it’s more subdued, laying down the bottom of the flavour. On the swallow, I get a very clear caramel-y stickyness.

Then there’s a prickly, woodsy sort of flavour on top of that, and at the very top there is a very floral note. Still no pseudo-smoke. It’s 100% floral in this one.

I find this a rather flimsy tea. All the flavour notes are there and strong, but they seem to be only very loosely connected with one another, as if the entire flavour profile could fly apart at a moments notice.

It was an excellent recommendation for me to try. I certainly found it very interesting and fun and I will enjoy the rest of these leaves. I just don’t think it’s one that I’ll drink when I’m in a specific Keemun mood, because it doesn’t really embody how I prefer my Keemuns. For me, a wonderful Keemun must be smoky rather than floral and lot more grain-y than this. This is too soft-spoken, really, to be a good morning tea, and I want my Keemuns to be rather more forceful.

(In other news, I shall be taking the first of my 52teas advent calender today. I know it’s too early, but this way I’ll have the last one before we go to England. Don’t worry about spoilers, I shan’t post anything yet. Although, I did see that some people were speculating on how to minimise spoiler-risk for others, and if anybody is interested in my opinion, it can’t be done. It’s all fine to make sure to post later in the day, but for those of us in earlier time zones, our ‘later in the day’s are still your mornings and the effort is rather lost. I believe that as long as everybody just posts on the correct day or later, then it must be up to others to not visit Steepster until AFTER they’ve opened their calendars. So I will be starting early and writing my posts privately, so I can put them on Steepster later.)


You’re a few days ahead and I’ll be a few days behind! I largely agree about the “spoiler” risk, though honestly I’m not concerned. Yes, the surprise is very nice but as long as I have the tea, I’m a happy duck!


Mine still hasn’t arrived… I hope it gets here soon enough that I can join in at least mid way! : )


Tea Spring really has some great teas! Most are on the expensive side. :/


Ooo yum—“caramel-y stickyness”!


Uniquity, yeah, if we could hide the text somehow, so that it would be a conscious decision for others to look at that particular post, it would be different, I think. But we can’t, so everybody has to be responsible for their own spoiler safety.

Ninavampi, I hope you get yours too. I know what it’s like to wait and wait while others are playing. Last year I never got mine because the danish post service messed it up. Twice. I decided not to get Frank to try and send it to me a third time after it came back again the second. It was eating up all his profit.

ScottTeaMan, yes, they do tend to be quite pricy, but the shipping rate is so low, I think it evens out more or less.

Stephanie, that’s really the only way I can explain it. :) It’s the first time I’ve found proper caramel in a Keemun. I’ve seen others post about that before, but it always escaped me until now.


I think you can hide the text though! Wasn’t it with the – key… or something like that…
Mmmmm caramel, naturally! Sounds fantastic


nope, that just makes it rather more difficult to read. :)


ahhh, that’s right it’s the < & > that deletes the text so that only the author can see it.
There was a post about formatting awhile ago: http://steepster.com/discuss/1894-how-to-use-text-formatting-symbols-formatting-can-be-fun?post_id=27723#forum_post_27723


Thanks for the post Indigo.

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89 tasting notes

A very smooth black tea. Dark brown color. No bitterness. The leaves were a similar color mixture as golden monkey, but smaller. No maltiness in the flavor however.

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Geoffrey Norman

Haven’t heard of this type of Keemun before. How does it differ from Hao Ya and Mao Feng?


No idea. Its the only Keemun I’ve tried. I was very pleased with it, and do intend to try others. When I can get some that is.

Geoffrey Norman

Canton Tea Co. puts out a killer Keemun. And Jing Tea puts out a Keemun Mao Feng. A company called Vicony Teas also puts out primarily Keemun. They tout in their bio that their family was there from Keemun’s very inception.

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93 tasting notes

Preparing this two different ways side by side in glazed gaiwans each with 115ml water.
4g using 3min-98C, 4min-90C, 4min-95C, 5min-100C decanted into a serving pitcher
3g using a continuous infusion more than 15min and starting at 90C, drinking from the gaiwan.
I groomed the leaf a bit for the continuous brew – the leaf bits were of a more uniform size versus the decanted infusions including some little broken pieces just a tad larger than fannings.
Really, though, if I had one served to me, I would not be able to tell which was which, as long as the infusion time went to four minutes or beyond. Seeeerious consistency. The continuous infusion picked up an “afterthought” astringency towards the bottom, but it’s pleasant and tannin-like, bringing in an oak leaf/acorn character I enjoy.

Above anything else, this leaves a silky impression. I don’t want to say “smooth” though that’s what jumps to mind, since there is a definitive crispness about it and a light astringency that trickles in from the throat up to the tip of the tongue a while after swallowing. Swishing it around in my mouth and letting it sit there is simply smooth and soothing, though a bit mouthwatering with a wood-like acidity… no astringency until it leaves the mouth. And it’s a fun astringency, at that – it’s prickly and stimulating. Ever walk along a creek in the redwoods on a cold summer evening and taken a deep breath? To those who haven’t, I’m sorry, come spend more time along Northern California’s coast. To those who have and can dredge the memory of the taste and smell up to the front of your consciousness, you have a good idea of what this tea tastes like.
Crisp, minerally, tannic, wet softwoods, mellow resin, moss, Douglas Iris, sorrel in bloom, ferns and horsetails, a mellow but steadfast background of white oak fires piping low smoke from distant wood stove chimneys, a touch of leaf litter dust dampened by fog drip, and fleeting notes of kelp washed up on coarse sand beaches in cold ocean water. I suppose this is wholly lacking in the must and mold smells that would accompany all this if you go farther north than Mendocino… but from Santa Cruz to Fort Bragg, it’s pretty darn close. I love it when teas are potently reminiscent of where I live.

This isn’t a particularly smoky Keemun, but the dry fragrance coming from the very pretty leaves is a low, slightly charred barbecue chicken fragrance. The wet leaf aroma takes on a light apple cobbler character (again, slightly charred edges). Liquor is bright red-orange in a shallow white cup and orange-brown in a deep, narrow cup and carries a copper and softwood aroma. In the continuous brew, this took on a tinge of sage brush while the decanted infusion held a more baked apple skin characteristic.

Silky, refreshing, warming but with a bit of a finishing tingle like you’ve been warmed from the cold. Love the play between the crisp and toasty dichotomy. Yummy when hot, but be sure to let a little bit of it go cold for a delicious twist that makes some sweet and spice notes jump forward (hard caramel, black pepper, and so much malt). There’s a good amount of greenery in the flavors and aromas, but the overall tacky nature announces this as a red tea with blaring horns. No bitterness. I want to say chocolate because of the texture, but it really isn’t there, mostly due to that lack of bitterness and only faint sweet aftertaste … more sandstone and sediment than anything else. The tackiness and spice notes remind me of sarsaparilla is some aspects. Third infusion in the decanted brews brings out a slight tangerine note and slicker mouthfeel – lighter body but still satisfying.

This tea can take a beating and shrugs it off like a rhino, but I feel like it would be sort of blasphemous to put anything in it. Just brew it lighter or heavier.
Down side… This tea makes me thirsty.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Your description of the redwood forest really makes me want to drink this tea. Such beautiful writing!


baked apple as a color ?

Thomas Smith

No, the smell of the wet leaf is similar to apple cobbler that has burned just a tad on the edges.

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54 tasting notes

4g tea,
12oz water

Dark amber color in steep. There is a very pleasant sweet aroma. Light notes of cocoa maybe some molasses. On the palette it is a very smooth tea, with slight astringent sensation on the finish. None of the flavors are overwhelming, but subtle and layered. It seems a bit difficult to really pick any out.

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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