Another “thanks to sil” tasting note! Had a few too-stupid-to-brew-cuppa days there, which had me avoiding trying this, but today I was up to the challenge. (Totally sarcastic, both about the challenge and about being up to anything.) Anyway, I brewed this according to Red Blossom’s instructions – though I simply had to taste the rinse water, like the big child I am. (It was mildly pool-water tasting, I thought, so they were probably right to say discard it.) But then I was dutiful and did as I was supposed to.

I’m going to have to leave it rather vaguely as not as much to my taste as the Pure Aroma Teas Keemun Spruce, but a nice cup all the same. There was a bit less silky smoothness to the smokiness compared to the PAT one, which left it ever so slightly tasting of burnt wood, to me. Well, obviously, smoke comes from burnt wood but it doesn’t mean the tea tastes like the wood itself. Yes, this tasting note is FULL OF SMART. I could get slight sweet notes – a hint of cocoa/chocolate and maybe a hint of raisin, but they weren’t quite as strong as the burnt notes. Which weren’t strongly burnt, but still dominant.

Thanks again for the sample, sil. It’s great to have had the chance to try this Keemun!

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I’ve been drinking tea pretty much all my life, allowing for the fact that there probably was no tea in my baby-bottles. I gave it up twice, once when a then-boyfriend sneered at me for being addicted (okay, I was, but I was also stubborn enough to bear a week of the blinding headaches and overwhelming exhaustion that followed cold-turkey withdrawal), and once on my first pregnancy. Neither experience gave me any reason to believe a life without tea is a good life.

Having spent most of my younger days in Ireland, where tea is everywhere, and mostly it’s decent, I whined my way across the States in the 80s and first half of the 90s. Now back in Dublin, and the tea situation is a bit mixed, but there’s the internet to provide what nearby shops don’t!

I started drinking green and white teas as well as my staple black a good few years ago now, but have recently decided I need to LEARN something more about tea than the little I know.

My likes:
- strong black tea blends; some flavoured blacks, such as Earl Grey and a small (but growing) number of other fruit and flower-flavoured ones; and chai. (For some daft reason, I feel like a tea fraud drinking sweet chai at home, though I’ll happily drink it out.)

- Chinese greens (may update this when I’ve learned enough to be more specific); some flavoured greens, especially if they’re made by the fabulous Yumchaa; Genmaicha; getting to like Sencha, as long as it’s not too bitter.

- White tea, pretty much as long as it’s good quality, I like it. Some flavoured ones are nice, though it’s easy to overpower the more delicate taste of white.

- Rooibos, which I know, I know, isn’t properly ‘tea’. (As above for Yumchaa flavoured rooibos – some of my favourites.)

- Any black tea made by someone who doesn’t know you need BOILING WATER. (See above about the Whining Years.)

- Hibiscus in fruit-flavoured teas. Looks so pretty! Tastes so awful!

I’m working on trying to like Hojicha, which isn’t going too well yet. Jane Pettigrew describes it as “biscuity”, but unless she’s eaten a lot of cigarette-flavoured biscuits in her time, I don’t get it.

- Aniseed in spiced teas. (Just discovered this one for the dislike list today, in an otherwise-tasty chai. Don’t like the tongue-numbing effect.)

Indecisive, despite being opinionated – okay, very opinionated – so may just add notes rather than rating.


Dublin, Ireland


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