Purchased a sample for myself. Brewed with a porcelain gaiwan. No rinse. Steeping times: 20, 10, 20, 40; 1 minute, 5.

NOTE: The website’s recommended temperature is 195. I suggest 190 if your kettle doesn’t have 195. 200 burns the leaf and produces bitterness.

The dry leaf has an unexpected aroma of smoke and what I identify as pine wood and sap. The familiar minghong aroma arises when the leaf has warmed in the pre-heated gaiwan. Individually, the heated aroma has notes of chocolate, baked bread, and salt. Altogether, I thought I was smelling chocolate-covered pretzels. Finally, the wet leaf smells like a keemun: honey and molasses. It’s worthy to note that the liquor, too, is fragrant. A molasses/chocolate fragrance sticks to the gaiwan lid and the cup.

The liquor has a fiery yet deep orange color, a full body, and a smooth and thick texture. The first infusion mostly tastes of molasses, a lovely sweetness. Infusions two through four – the most enjoyable – also have the molasses note, but wood and something like myrrh and patchouli also make their way in. Wonderful complex cups. There is also a brief chocolate aftertaste during this part of the session, but it disappears towards the tail-end. The fifth and sixth infusions – long steeps – are a bit of a long shot trying to keep this keemun going and to eek out last flavors. They mostly taste of pine wood, with just some honey sweetness.

Not truly for me, but I did enjoy certain aspects of the aroma and taste. A good quality keemun.

190 °F / 87 °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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