Actually I am drinking a Panyang and a Keemun side by side. Sometimes drinking two teas at the same time confuses me and l lose track which flavor is from which tea, especially when the aftertastes are complicated. But this time, I’ve found it quite interesting to have these two teas together.
These are two tea samples I got. Keemun is my favorite red (black) tea and the “Keemun aroma” has become my benchmark for red teas. When reading Steepster tealogs about Panyang, I’ve seen many good comments and a few comments like “uninteresting”. I guess, if I had had this Panyang by itself, I would have felt it a bit uninteresting. But interestingly, in the contrast with Keemun, which I actually like more, I appreciate Panyang more. This Panyang doesn’t have as prominent aroma as Keemun, but it has some mild character, as mild as rice soup. Besides, there is a hint of fruit aroma (just a hint though).
I used two small gaiwan (of about 100ml) to brew this two teas. Each gaiwan had its bottom just covered by dry tea leaves. I used boiling water, and refill the cup when there is about 1/3 liquor left. I’ve notice that the mild feature of this Panyang makes it more forgiving. When I drink toward near the bottom of the gaiwan, the Keemun gets more condensed, with even some sourness. But Panyang is still mild and pleasant. I guess, this means, when you brew this two teas, the Panyang is tolerant of various brewing parameters, while Keemun is pickier and can’t be made too concentrated.
In the third infusion, Keemun still smells and tastes aromatic, but Panyang is almost exhausted in both fragrance and flavor (but still, the rice soup taste isn’t bad). However, this comparison cannot be generalized to the two tea varieties, because I am sure there are greater Panyang out there.
Besides, I have to say, Hokkienese is mysterious! The same word is pronounced as Gongfu in Mandarin, and pronounced as Congou in Hokkienese, yet they are both Chinese dialects!