Sample purchased by self. I used my own parameters for the evaluation, treating this as I treated Keemun Grade 2. Brewed in a porcelain gaiwan, drank from a white porcelain cup. Steeping times: 20 seconds, 10, 20, 30; 1 minute, 2, 6.

The aromas are quite different from those of Grade 2. Again, I only smell tannins from the dry leaf, but the heated and wet leaf aromas are what shine. The former is very sweet, with notes of dark chocolate and berries, reminding me of those chocolate-covered blueberries and pomegranate. The latter initially smells typically of molasses and honey, but more exposure to air morphs these notes into tart berries. Lovely. I took my time breathing in the aromas.

The liquor is a fiery deep orange (classic keemun color). Overall, Grade 1 is sweeter than Grade 2, though much lighter tasting. The body is more in the middle on the scale, having a medium body, strong though not brisk, not filling the mouth with flavor. Infusions one through three taste of molasses and honey; tannic but leaning more towards sweetness as opposed to the balance that Grade 2 has. Furthermore, I noticed this grade has a nicely smooth and thick texture.

Surprisingly, this grade has considerably less gongfucha stamina. I could have finished with cup #3, but wanted to learn what how much farther it could really go. In truth, four through seven aren’t worth it. In spite of the color remaining strong, it became too light in flavor, only a remnant of what it tasted like in the first couple infusions. I used a 1:20 ratio. I may have to use 1:15 for this to suit my fancy more. But it seems I would enjoy this more in a mug than in a gaiwan. Comparing the two keemuns, Grade 2 suited my fancy more because it was stronger and more flavorful.

I then brewed this in a typically sized mug twice, using 2g each time, similar temperature. The flavor and intensity is very much same: light, sweet, and slightly tannic. The less water the better since a full mug tastes diluted. Again, too light for my taste.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

Japanese greens were my first love and gateway into the world.

My favorite teas are leafhopper oolongs, pu’erh (shou and sheng), and masala chai. My favorite herbal tisanes are spear/peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum.

I’m currently exploring pu’erh, and any Chinese and Taiwanese teas in general. I’m not much into flavored teas, unlike when I first started. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. I do like hisbiscus, especially iced.

I like to write nature essays. I’m a birdwatcher as well as a tea enthusiast. The kiwi is one of my favorite birds. I also like Tolkien, Ancient Egypt, and exercising.

IMPORTANT NOTE, PLEASE READ: After two and a half years of having an account here, I will no longer will provide numerical ratings as an addition to the review because the American school system has skewed my thoughts on numbers out of a hundred and the colors throw me off. Curses! My words are more than sufficient. If I really like what I have, I will “recommend”, and if I don’t, “not recommended”.

Key for past ratings:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).


Westchester, NY

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