Despite their popularity, Keemun black teas remain one of the black tea “families,” to which I have not heavily been exposed. Thus, with the opportunity to try this tea, I am eager to brew a cup. Teavivre’s website makes suggestions for brewing this tea gongfu-style or as a whole pot, Western-style.
I opted to use a Finum infuser basket to brew a single cup. Into the basket went a teaspoon of the black tea leaves. Then I placed it in a mug and poured water, which had just finished boiling, over it. Time-wise, it was a bit of a toss-up. The website suggests two to five minutes. After two and a half, for which I set the timer initially, the tea looked and smelled a bit weak, so I left it for another minute (three and a half minutes in total). When the timer rang, and I removed the brew basket from the mug, I stopped to smell the tea…and was intrigued.
Instantly, I could tell that this tea was different than most of the black teas I consume. The smell was a complex combination of a number of aromas. Foremost, I noted spiciness. The peppery spice walked alongside a sweeter spiciness, which seemed almost like cinnamon but devolved into the malty body of the scent. Oddly, there was a bit of a floral aspect to it, which puzzled me but compounded the experience.
The first sip carries those aromas into taste. The foretaste is surprisingly lacking in impression, but, when the tea covers the tongue, all of the nuances emerge. Boldy, the flavor embodies the moderate maltiness. The pepper smell has become a tingling undertone in the taste and mouthfeel of this tea. Highly reminiscent of a breakfast tea, it would pair with food nicely. Three minutes might have been enough for this tea, as I can sense the start of astringency on the edges, but that does not detract from the enjoyment to be found in this cup. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this Keemun black tea an 87/100.
Flavors: Malt, Peppercorn