ZK98: China Keemun Mao Feng

Tea type
Black Tea
Chinese Keemun Black Tea
Heavy, Malt, Smoke, Sweet
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Rumpus Parable
Average preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 15 g 41 oz / 1200 ml

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From Upton Tea Imports

From An Hui province. Long, slender leaves with exceptional quality. One of the finest black teas from China. Milder and more complex than traditional Keemun style teas. Exquisite flavor and aroma. An exceptional value among teas of this style.

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25 Tasting Notes

984 tasting notes

Third cup of the day…..

I did pick up a sample of this one for comparison. I have not had it in my cupboard for over a year and wanted to have a more accurate view of this than just my memory. The memory is starting to go, you know. Also, sometimes experiencing tea has everything to do with your mood and surroundings at the time. If I were going from memory, the taste was just a little different than I am experiencing today. I won’t add those memories in, just because it would confuse the issue. This time around it is good, but just that. Cocoa notes are lighter than the others, and it is slightly smokier than all that I have recently tried. It is less sweet than the ZK67. In comparison to the Harney, it does have a similar light earthiness, but definitely less complex and rich, and the mouthfeel is thinner. I do get a similar astringency to the ZK91. Leaves are comparable to the ZK91 and ZK67, but they seem a little shorter. Overall, it is a smooth and wonderful tea, but I am spoiled by others. I am sure if I had not tasted the others, I would have been happy with this. Sometimes, too many choices is a bad thing. I am not sorry that I tried it again as it is the best value in a Keemun Mao Feng that I have tried.

Usual Mug method.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

I’ve not yet had the pleasure of tasting KMF. How does Premium Keemun Hao Ya compare to:
- KMF tea?
- And also to Upton ZK98?


Hao Ya tea is more smokey, slight briskness at the end IMO. KMF is smoother and more refined in general. ZK98 is a KMF. I do find the Upton KMF closer to Hao Ya than Harney’s version, but still much smoother, less smokey.


Ack. Lost my post. ZK98 is a KMF. Generally, KMF is lots smoother, less smokey (but there is some in there), and more cocoa noted than Hao Ya. Hao Ya is very good, but KMF is wonderful.


Thank you for your comparison. It sounds like I should have a KMF experience. Other than the pricey Harney & Son KMF ($24 / 4 oz.) and the much more cost-effective Upton KMF ZK98 ($8.20 / 3.5 oz.), Are there any others you recommend? Thanks!


Yes, if you are a fan of Keemun, KMF should be on your list to try ASAP. The one from Harney is now $9 for 2 oz. It is still my favorite. For the budget conscious, I would definitely sample the ones from Upton. The Organic one is the priciest of all that I tried (which is pretty much how it runs). They only have the three you linked in stock. Obviously, the 67 is my favorite of those, but the 98 is still very good. I keep the ZK67 and the Harney in my stash.


At $72/LB. for Harney’s KMF, I’ll try Upton first. Are there any other brands you recommend? Thanks!


I guess I never look at it as a price by the pound for KMF. It resteeps too well to buy it in that kind of quantity. I don’t consider it an everyday tea…..more of a special day tea, a splurge tea.
I have not tried any others save the four. One day, I might try the one from TeaSpring. But I am very content with the ones I have.


“It resteeps too well …” That’s good to know. How many infusions are typical for Harney’s & Upton’s KMF? Thanks!


3 even 4.


News: TeaVivre will be offering Keemun Mao Feng next year.

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294 tasting notes

I love starting my day with a cup of this wonderful tea. I am always generous with steep times which borders between 6 and 8 minutes. The result as always is splendid. There are dark fruit notes with a touch of smoke. Rich, invigorating and flavorful. All in all this is a very nice tea. I am now deciding on a Darjeeling order from Upton. Lately my fellow Steepsterites have made me very thirsty for some….


Do it! hee hee…


The last few years I have been leaning toward Thunderbolt Tea-I have never been disappointed. Now I sampled the Glenburn-YUM, & Amy got me hooked on the Risheehat from Upton’s! :))) I can’t speak to other ff darj’s, from them but the Risheehat is “…Real, and it is SPECTACULAR!” IMO, it was so good, it made my mouth water, and stimulated my hunger reflex.

Charles Thomas Draper

Yes the two of you. And Jim Marks. You are making me crave Darjeeling. I respect your opinions. I know I’ll be in for a treat….

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1112 tasting notes

I’m trying to restrain myself from placing a Harney order (new Chinese tea available! free shipping code! Discount code! I have a $5 points thingum! wait – that’s encouraging me – slap my hand!) so I am having another Keemun which Lady Londonderry gave me a very generous sample of (so sheesh! I can certainly hold out a little longer because you KNOW what is going to happen. The minute I place my order some more Harney Chinese teas are going to come out and I’m going to to be mad at myself).

Ahem! You’ve had enough of my internal monologue – let me talk about the tea!

I went heavy on the leaf, and got a really nice cocoa-y, satisfying cup. Rich and delicious.

THEN I gilded the lily! I took Harney’s Chocolate Mint which Ashmanra sent to me into work because I wanted to taste it sans additions. I added a scant teaspoon to the Keemun Mao Feng leaves and had two more steeps of such a treat! The cocoa notes from the Keemun paired with the chocolate and mint was exhilarating! I definitely prefer the Chocolate Mint sans additions. This is so refreshing and chocolatey and Mmmmmm!

Thank you so much Lady Londonderry & Ashmanra! You both helped me keep a sound mind and pocketbook today, whilst having a delicious and decadent tea day!

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

…and after all that balderdash I wound up ordering Wild Wuyi and Keemun Mao Feng. My birthday is coming :) I will still place my big fall order in the fall. This is just a tiny little treat :) :) :)


Happy Birthday!
You deserve it!


Thanks!! It’s not until July 15th but my husband gave me my present early so I feel like birthday season has started! He gave me wonderful Nikon binoculars! I love bird and butterfly watching and this is a prime season – he didn’t want to wait and have me miss things :)

And…after all the discounts, points etc it came to a little over $30 so I shouldn’t beat myself up too badly, right? :)

Definitely not! I recently used up my points there on my small teapot and some tea….I did not think it was too bad to spend $40 on a teapot, large tin of Earl Grey Supreme, and small ones of Rose Scented, Vanilla Black, and Black Currant. It was my Harney deal of the year…. plus I added in some Queen Catherine for a friend.

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512 tasting notes

Pretty good, nice in the morning with some milk and sugar tho that made it a bit heavy on my belly.
Not sure if the caffeine or the milk and sugar but my belly kinda hurts now, It was worth it tho lol Yummy delish tea :)
I’ll taste it again soon without the additives

Charles Thomas Draper

Yes. No sugar or milk…

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257 tasting notes

This is a very satisfying afternoon tea. The wisp of smoke is very restrained and I am certain that this tea would be perfectly acceptable to those who do not like smoky teas.
Upton offers good teas at decent prices. I think that I’ve tried much more costly Keemuns which have spoiled me a bit for their more pedestrian siblings. This smooth tea is really a delight. After drinking some Hao Ya Keemuns this tea certainly seems like a step down, but I feel a bit churlish writing this.

It might be analogous to eating a lobster dish after you’ve sampled caviar (not that I’ve had a lot of experience there). What might have seemed like a wonderful tea a couple of weeks ago seems a little simple-minded compared with more brilliant teas.

What am I getting at? If I were grading papers I would give this one an “A” even if there were another paper that went miles and miles beyond the outer reaches of what I know to be an A+. Excellent tea, Upton!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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45 tasting notes

I’m kind of wimpy when it comes to smoke notes in tea. I want there to be just the slightest suggestion of smoke, if any … like the trace of tobacco you’d barely detect in the elevator after getting into it an hour after your pipe-smoking neighbor had gotten out. So this tea by itself is a bit too smoky for me. However, yesterday I made a two-cup pot of Organic China Black FOP and blended in just a pinch of this, and it was a revelation. Those few leaves of Keemun Mao Feng elevated it from a satisfying brew to a sublime one.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

That is SUCH a good idea! I too am wimpy about smoky teas but I LOVE just a touch of it like in some English Breakfast blends. If I get something too smoky for me, I will save it and do just like you :)


I bet I’m even a bigger smoke wimp lol:)

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2784 tasting notes

Thank you Charles for sending me a sample of this tea. I wanted to comment on it this morning while I was drinking it but my computer at home is acting funny.

I don’t believe I’ve had a Kemmun before. I brewed this in the tetsubin which I am using for mostly black tea these days. I think I erred a little too much on the side of caution and did not add enough leaf. I liked this though. It was a light brown, woody and smooth tea with some smoke in the aftertaste. I’m not a huge fan of smoke but I didn’t mind it here it seemed very unobtrusive. I tried adding soymilk and that was not a good idea, I preferred the taste of it plain.

Charles Thomas Draper

Thank you too. Add more leaf and steep it for 6 minutes


sadly I don’t have much more left so maybe i’ll try the lil’ elf teapot…


Info on website recommends a steep time of 5 to 8 minutes.

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1855 tasting notes

I’ve been dying to write this one up for several days, but had to consult with a buddy to see what loveliness lurked in the little foil sharing pouch.

This Keemun is superlative. The dry scent is pretty keemuny, maybe a little lighter than some, but don’t let that fool you. It is rich and brothy and has beautiful harvest-season burgundy grape notes to it. Straight up, no additives whatsoever.

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38 tasting notes

This tea requires double or more the usual leaf to brew the way I like a morning cup. I’m terrified of overbrewing, so I took several tries to be bold enough to go the recommended longer range time of 8 minutes. Bingo! The 8 minute brew with boiling water produced the sweetest, closest to cocoa flavor that I desired. This is an excellent everyday choice, I can afford to stock up on this one. And it is rich and strong enough for a work morning beginning at 5:30 a.m. (And no, I am so NOT a morning person…) I find Golden Moon’s Keemun the standard for cocoa goodness, but the cost is more.

Boiling 8 min or more

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297 tasting notes

Got this as I am still seeking the right Keemun Mao Feng for me.

This is nicely smokey and rich with underneath deeply below a pleasing black tea acrid feel in the back of the throat. Sweetness and honey colors at the roof of mouth. Moderate astringency.

This is a dark rich tea without being. Too heavy. In fact, I’d like a bit more weight so I may try later brewing with a bit extra leaves. But this may really be the perfect balance. Experimenting is good, though.

Very nice. Might be a standard for me.

Flavors: Heavy, Malt, Smoke, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 15 g 41 OZ / 1200 ML
Doug F

It’s always been a standard for me. It’s as good as many more expensive Keemuns.

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