I’ve certainly imbibed my share of Keemun tea over the course of my life—but generally in disguise. I do not recall ever seeking out to buy Keemun, but this tea appears to be a major component in many English Breakfast blends. In fact, in memory serves, the current Harney & Son English Breakfast sachet contains only Keemun! That probably explains why the dried leaves looked and smelled so familiar to me. The leaves are quite a bit smaller than the full leaf blacks I’ve tested of late. In fact, by both looks and taste of the dark amber brew, I’d say that this tea—or reasonable facsimile—may also be the base of many a fine flavored blend.
The flavor does not immediately recall English Breakfast tea to my mind, probably because of the absence of Assam, which generally contributes the maltiness in most orthodox English Breakfast blends. (My understanding is that there is also a lot of Assamica out there—not produced in the Assam region of India, but using similar strains and growing and production techniques.) Nonetheless, by force of habit, I ended up splashing this glass with a bit of half and half, and then I felt as though I had reunited with an old friend.
I probably won’t be stocking this tea. It’s good, but it’s not new to me, and I’m focusing on broadening my horizons rather than seeking refuge in the comfort and safety of familiarity.
A good tea, though, for black tea lovers, and anyone who drinks flavored blends!