China Keemun (TP12)

Tea type
Black Tea
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Chocolate, Wood, Earth, Leather
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Edit tea info Last updated by susanlouise
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 45 sec 16 oz / 487 ml

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From Upton Tea Imports

Often called the burgundy of China teas, this North China Congou is rich, flavorful and appropriate for any time of day. We offer this as our basic Keemun, although it is in the middle range of the standard series.

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15 Tasting Notes

365 tasting notes

Doulton’s Shakespeare: A Tasting Note in 5 Acts
Act IV scene 4

O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Henry V, Prologue

The last time I had a straight-up Keemun I was doing my basic black trio comparison in order to learn what Keemuns, Ceylons, and Assams generally taste like. Keemuns came out on top as being my favorite amongst the three. With this Keemun I didn’t have to focus on the comparison at all, but instead just enjoy a good cup of black tea.

After my first sip I knew that this tea would be one of Shakespeare’s histories. It just seems too earthy and real to be anything else. I had visions of a mud-spattered Kenneth Branagh with a bad haircut giving rousing speeches to an outnumbered army. Therefore this tea is my Henry V (the king formerly known as Prince Hal). In Henry IV part 1 we watch Prince Hal go through his “Lion King” type transformation. Well, now that he’s a king we get to watch him get his king on.

This tea seems to give me an internal speech that says:

Once more unto the morning, dear Rabs, once more;
Or close your eyes with your braincells dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a woman
As modest snoring and humility;
But when the blast of dawn blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger. . .

Or something like that. NE

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

oh i gotta learn these teas too. cant wait to get some of the pure black and green teas…

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658 tasting notes

Yum, this tea was an excellent choice to have waiting for me in the Breville this morning (last exam of the term coming up in a couple hours!). It’s nice and full. Smoky and pretty astringent. Very pleasant.

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863 tasting notes

Cold brewed 3 cups with 1 tbsp. leaves, and let sit for 21+ hours.

This also pours a lighter color than I expected it too – darker than the darjeeling from this same sample collection, but not as dark as I have always seen black teas to be.

The steeped smell and a large part of the steeped taste that I’m getting is cocoa, though I do sense a little tiny bit of (the idea of, really) smoke in the front of the sip. Writing that out it sounds like a bad combination – smoky chocolate – but it really just tastes like a super super dark chocolate flavor in the tea. It has a stronger taste than the darjeeling – and even though it’s not drying on my tongue it still seems more tannic than the darjeeling as well.

It’s still really good unsweetened, though – I assume sugar wouldn’t hurt it but I like how bold and unadulterated it tastes without additives for right now.

ETA: Well, that smokiness that was only an idea when I sipped slowly got SUPER smoky when I started drinking faster. Weird. I’m not a fan of the smoke, though, so I have to bump it down some – this is not something I can drink fast (like with meals), but if I want to sit and savor it it’s okay.

Iced 8 min or more

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429 tasting notes

This is an interesting tea, interesting in the flavor it has. I can’t place it at all. It steeps up a dark brown and does have a little astringency and just slight bitterness. Its gently robust and has a full mouthfeel. Its not my favorite tea from Upton and I more than likely will not order this again. I feel this tea is better for blending which is what I will do as I have a very light Lapsang Souchong which I can add this to.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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1 tasting notes

I’m new to tea. After buying a few cans of Rishi, a friend pointed me to Upton Tea Importers. From Upton I ordered a few tea samplers to get a taste of many different teas. This tea, China Keemun (Upton #TP12) is from their “Introduction to Fine Tea” sampler (Upton #SM30).

The liquor is a reddish copper color, and the aroma is of nuts (I’m new at this). The tea itself tastes quite mild, at least to me, for a black tea. It is quite pleasant, with a nice finish.

I will certainly add Keemun to my list of teas types for further investigation.

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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7 tasting notes

I love this tea — I got it to try a different Chinese tea than my normal types and went for the generic Keemun (figured I’d start at the bottom), and I am very pleasantly surprised. It’s a perfect morning cup for me; plenty of flavor but not overly astringent.

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24 tasting notes

It has a woodsy smell to the leaves, but it brews like chocolate. Very nice.

Flavors: Chocolate, Wood

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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30 tasting notes

After my highly disappointing first tasting of this tea, I decided to try using a reduced steeping temperature this time around. The results were a marked improvement—the astringency was reduced significantly, allowing me to get a much better sense of the flavor of the tea. I was still not particularly impressed, but it was much more palatable than my previous tasting.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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9 tasting notes

This tea was quite interesting. It was earthy, and almost leathery in flavor. It reminds me a bit of barns and country living. It was definitely smooth but difficult to place taste-wise. I will need to have this one a few more times to develop my feelings on it.

Flavors: Earth, Leather

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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360 tasting notes

Brewed with the Western method. (First steeping meant to be 4 minutes, but ran up to 6 due to a distraction at work.)

The dry leaf aroma smells of maple syrup and plums. The dark amber liquor is full-bodied, clear, thin-textured, and brisk with flavor. All at once I taste smoke, malt, honey, and fruit.

This is my first Keemun, and even though it is only my first, I think it served as a good introduction to this type of tea. A brand new and very interesting gustatory experience.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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