Acquired on my own and used my personal steeping parameters, keeping the recommended temperature. Brewed in a porcelain gaiwan. No rinse. Steeping times: 20 seconds, 10, 20, 40; 1 minute, 2, 4, 8.
The dry leaf smells mostly of sweet potato skin with just a smidge of dates. The fruitiness begins to come through with the heated leaf, from which I pick out dates and figs, and chocolate as well. At first, the wet leaf aroma disappointingly smells of malt and sweet potato. But as I steep the leaf throughout the session, the sweetness truly comes through at its fullest and holds up strong until after the final steep. It’s fruity, chocolately, and a little nutty. In addition, the liquor leaves behind a berry-filled aroma in my cup.
The liquor is orange and clear, and has a light body. The first infusion is gently fruity with a sharp and light mouthfeel, its aftertaste drying. The creme de la creme of the session occurs from infusions 2 through 6, wherein the liquor is thick and silky, very sweet with dark dried fruits, and astringent in the mouth. The taste is also evocative of the fragrance of dewy flowers in early spring. A surprise – the first time a hongcha reminds me spring! While there was no aftertaste in the first infusion, these infusions have a sweet aftertaste that linger a few minutes. I’m beginning to push this keemun with 4 minutes at the seventh infusion. It still tastes fully sweet and fruity, and also feels peppery on the tongue. I then really pushed this at steep eight – at 8 minutes long – which was just plain done and tired with eeking out flavor. At this point, the aroma of the wet leaf has finished, too.
This is a great keemun. I had a difficulty pacing myself and slowing the session. I couldn’t help but down each cup (50ml – small amount and quickly cooling). I loved the aroma, the taste, and the overall feel. By far my favorite of Teavivire’s keemuns even though I have one left to evaluate.