Keemun Imperial Black Tea

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Black Tea Leaves
Flavors
Berry, Flowers, Frosting, Honey, Pine, Baked Bread, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Caramel, Molasses, Yams, Hay, Tea
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Medium
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by TeaVivre
Average preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 oz / 161 ml

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9 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I had this tea right after trying Keemun 2 Grade by Teavivre and wow, what different teas they are. The Imperial has very showy, attractive dry leaves and one of the most heady fragrances I...” Read full tasting note
    94
  • “This is a sample from Angel who is always super generous with her samples. I haven’t had this keemun before so it was great to try it out. this has no smoke and is a light brew. there’s some...” Read full tasting note
    75
  • “This is another tea from Angel at Teavivre. Thanks again, Angel! Sorry it took me so long! The first thing I notice as I open the pouch is a sweet, almost caramellized fruit aroma. Like a grilled...” Read full tasting note
    90
  • “I love keemun but haven’t drank any in awhile. This one is delicious. Mellow and smooth with a bit of winey malt and creamy caramel. Perhaps a hint of smokiness but minimal. Could drink this...” Read full tasting note

From Teavivre

The fresh leaves for making this tea grew in the original producing area of Keemun tea, at an average elevation of 800 m above sea level. The one bud with one leaf (which just starts to open up, called Chu zhan “初展”) is hand-plucked for making this tea around the Chinese season of Qing Ming in early spring days. These fresh first-plucking leaves for making are loaded with nutrients and hence the finished dry leaves are neat and bold with high percentage of tiny golden tips. There is a sweet, mellow taste which creates a pleasant smooth sensation in your mouth. Overall, the first infusion of this tea is high in roasted sweet potato flavor mixed somewhat flower aroma, the second infusion is very mellow and the third infusion‘s lingering sweet and fragrant aftertaste will give you more enjoyment.

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9 Tasting Notes

94
45 tasting notes

I had this tea right after trying Keemun 2 Grade by Teavivre and wow, what different teas they are. The Imperial has very showy, attractive dry leaves and one of the most heady fragrances I encountered with any tea. The aroma is very sweet and full of honey, tulips, some other flowers, pine needles and rich cake with frosting.

The taste is very smooth and sweet, the typical Keemuny notes are barely discernable. It tastes almost like an oolong. The tea resteeps well: even the fourth gaiwan infusion is sweet and memorable, although the roughness starts to increase after the first two steeps. Despite all of this honeyed sweetness the aftertaste is lingering and unmistakably Keemunish. The infusions need to be short to keep the complexity intact and in no way this brew should be adulterated by the addition of milk or sugar.

This is certainly an excellent desert tea: lazy, voluptuous and decadent. I can’t say it is better or worse than Grade 2 but it is certainly more complex. Just two excellent Keemuns for different moods and different situations. But, of course the Imperial costs three times as the Grade 2, which tells something about how leisure is valued much higher then work.

I probably will have to stock this tea for special occasions because it IS really special.

Flavors: Berry, Flowers, Frosting, Honey, Pine

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75
9213 tasting notes

This is a sample from Angel who is always super generous with her samples. I haven’t had this keemun before so it was great to try it out. this has no smoke and is a light brew. there’s some astringency here but it’s still a good cup of tea. I prefer the keemun snail aromatic but this was an interesting experience.

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90
564 tasting notes

This is another tea from Angel at Teavivre. Thanks again, Angel! Sorry it took me so long!

The first thing I notice as I open the pouch is a sweet, almost caramellized fruit aroma. Like a grilled peach. The leaves are very narrow and fine. Dark, dark brown. As the tea steeps, the water goes dark very quickly and the leaves unfurl to perfect little spears of young leaves.

The flavor is smooth and has a distinct sweet potato note. I also get a sort of wheat bread and malt flavor, too. It’s a very heavy black tea, but I love it. It’s very satisfying and is definitely going on my order list for Teavivre. Would be a wonderful winter tea. I think it could also serve as a good substitute for coffee.

A note to self, however: Scoop lightly, this stuff is potent! Maybe go with a shorter steep time, too.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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84 tasting notes

I love keemun but haven’t drank any in awhile. This one is delicious. Mellow and smooth with a bit of winey malt and creamy caramel. Perhaps a hint of smokiness but minimal. Could drink this all day!
Thanks Angel at Teavivre.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BGmsiDrjR3f/

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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85
2417 tasting notes

Another one to try from Teavivre – thank you! This is a Keemun in all its glory. The dry leaves are black with hints of gold and almost has that shiny sheen that the Keemun Snail has, but not quite. The scent of the leaves is intoxicating. I went with two teaspoons (I guess that is what I usually use for Teavivre teas.) The medium amber brew is what I expect from a Keemun — that Keemun flavor that is tough to describe. It’s so distinct to Keemun, it’s like a tanginess but not the same tangy that other teas have. I could swear with the first few sips there is some sort of berry too. The flavor is light, but complex, if that makes sense. All three steeps were fairly different, though the second was a little oversteeped for me — there was an astringency there. I should have went 30 seconds less. It was still a delicious cup, but the astringency shouldn’t have been there to ruin such a great tea. The third steep was a little lighter and I could have steeped for 30 seconds more. (So each steep should have been 2 1/2 minutes and all three steeps would have been perfect.) The first steep was the best (well balanced – neither astringent or too light). The third steep was definitely like sweet potato, but still had slight tanginess. Overall, a delicious Keemun.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 minute steep
Harvest: April 2015

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94
650 tasting notes

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that one must have tea while reading British classics”. When first brewed, it is a tiny bit smoky. There is a malty caramel scent. (And maybe some sweet potato too.) The flavour is sweet, with malty notes, and hints of roasted yams. Comes across darker than yesterday’s selection.

Thanks for the sample, Teavivre!

Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes, Yams

Zennenn

which classic are you reading?

Lariel of Lórien

I’m re-reading Pride and Prejudice.

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366 tasting notes

Generously given as a free sample. Many thanks to Angel!

Brewed in ceramic gaiwan, had a gongfu session. No rinse. Steeping times: 15, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60; 2 min, 5.

Nearly all of the leaf is dark, dark brown, save for a few golden leaves. They’re short and curly, like black bi luo chun, but thin and without hairs. The dry leaf smells of sweet potato and a hint of chocolate. After the leaf spent a little time in the heated gaiwan bowl, the chocolate note strengthened, and a graham crackers note also appeared. The wet leaf aroma is malty at first; as the session went on, it smelled more like sweet potato.

The liquor has a dark orange color. It is clear and clean-tasting, with a full body but light mouthfeel. The first infusion tastes of sweet potato and malt with clove in the background. Second infusion and onward, the liquor sweetens more and more, consistently tasting of sweet potato. Its texture feels thick and smooth, almost creamy.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFrSlWbQNoI/

Being hongcha, this is a delight to drink on colder, overcast days. Unfortunately, this is only my second keemun – and my first keemun from Teavivre – so I can’t evaluate it fully. I wasn’t wowed by the aroma or the taste, though I did enjoy the full session. I also liked its hug-in-a-cup effect. It reminds me of dian hong. I imagine this would also taste good Western style.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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80
32 tasting notes

The more I drink of this, the better I like it; it’s a nice, sweet, mellow tea, and for a black tea it’s very relaxing, and perfect for lazing around with after a heavy Sunday lunch.

My brewing method for black teas changed a few days ago when my new yixing teapot, that I’m reserving for black teas, arrived; it’s nowhere near being fully seasoned yet, and possibly it’s all in my head, but my black teas do taste just a little bit more fabulous when I make them in my new pot.

Flavors: Caramel, Hay, Honey, Malt, Tea

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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