185 Tasting Notes


So, Keemun number 3! Semi-backlog, as I finished this about an hour and a half ago, but I was in the middle of making dinner. So you get the Steepster’s Digest version:

-More similar to the Grade 2 Keemun than either the Grade 1 or the Superfine
-Stout, but not as as stout as the Grade 2
-Lacking a lot of the fruitiness of the Grade 1, but it’s still apparent. Just… less so.
-Not as smokey as Grade 2, but smokier than Grade 1
-Somewhere around no astringency. Very smooth.

Out of the four, this is my second favorite. It’s very, very good, but something about the Grade 2 just appeals to the blue collar in me. It’s like a working man’s tea. So yeah, if sometime in the future, Marty McFly is reading this and wondering what tea to buy… I would recommend giving all of them a shot. It’s almost like you need to toss them on a scatterplot, or some sort of four-square diagram. Depending what you’re looking for, any of the four grades of Teavivre’s Keemun are excellent choices.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Keemun Grade 1 vs Keemun Grade 2… fight! Okay, so teas can’t really fight each other… the gloves won’t fit!

I found this tea to be extremely tasty, a very solid black tea that anyone would be lucky to have. It is dark and smooth, a little bit malty with a sweet, lightly fruity finish. I almost wrote ‘fruity finish at the end’, but I stopped myself (and then shared!). The smokiness on Grade 2 is a little lighter at first than Grade 1, but brings itself out in the aftertaste pretty prominently. It lingers on the tongue a little while, as a very pleasant memory.

Ill-fitting protective gear aside, this was a brew destined to do battle against it’s lower grade brother, and sadly it lost. At least for me. The flavors in this cup of Keemun are a little more complex than the Grade 2, but ultimately I prefer the strength and gusto of the Grade 2 Keemun. Either of them make a fantastic cup of tea… and had I not enjoyed the Grade 2 SO MUCH, the Grade 1 would feel more remarkable.

So, in an nutshell – if you like more contemplative, interesting flavor profiles, take the Grade 1. If you want a powerful cup of awesome, take the Grade 2. Or take the blue pill, and you’ll wake up tomorrow thinking this was all just a dream (I recommend the tea).

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

haha, I am getting a picture in my mind of little pearls of tea with boxing gloves on….I guess I am in a silly kinda mood!
I haven’t tried any of Teavivre’s Keemun’s, I will have to order samples when I acutally buy tea from them!

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Missy and I are doing a Keemun taste off from Teavivre this afternoon, since we ordered a sample of each of them (actually, we put our order in before they offered the Organic Superfine… but then Angel sent us a sample of that one!)

This tea is truly remarkable. It has a dark, malty base flavor to it that really commands attention. There is a strength to the flavor that is rough, but not harsh, with a smokey flavor to the cup that imparts just a little bit of magic. It makes it mysterious.

So how does Grade 2 compare to Grade 1? I might catch some flak for this… but I like Grade 2 better. Grade 1 is great, don’t get me wrong. But it has a little bit of a fruity taste in the back of the cup… it’s a little more complex, less astringent but less strong as well. Thing 1 is a more sophisticated cup of tea. Thing 2 kind of walks through the door, bellows out ‘Hey Everybody, KEEMUN IS HERE!’, and goes and sits at the bar. Depending on your taste for tea, you could go either way.

I really liked the Yunnan tea that we tried from Teavivre, but after tasting these Keemuns… I know where my heart lies.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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The Berry in the Razzleberry a little bit more potent in this first steeping than it was in yesterday’s second steeping. Not a lot though, so I definitely don’t think this is losing anything for a second steep. It’s still playing with the tea here, but now it’s actually, you know, playing tag instead of just cohabitating the sandbox.

Still pretty pleased with this one. Will probably buy some more.

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Stole this bit from my post on Tropical Tea Co’s Pai Mu Tan:

I’m not a huge fan of unflavored white tea, as it tends to be a little more… delicate than I think I truly appreciate at this point. It’s good, it tastes good, but it’s not quite the tea I want to drink, you know?

It holds true here, and since I’m comparing two teas against each other, I’m being efficient and plagiarizing myself! And then being inefficient by explaining my self-plagiarism. It’s my prerogative!

(my apologies if you’re perfectly in the like seven year age demographic span to now have a song stuck in your head)

This tea, much like the Tropical version, is very light, sweet, and grassy. The grassy flavor is a little more subdued on this version, leaning more towards the cucumber-y flavor. The somewhat spicy peppery notes take more center stage real estate in this tea, instead of lingering slowly along in the aftertaste.

Together, the flavors seem to be a little more smooth and cohesive. This does add to it’s delicacy somewhat, but still produces an overall more enjoyable brew. I still don’t think I’ll be making this a permanent collection tea at the moment, but I was definitely glad to get to try it again.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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So, today’s taste-off… Pai mu tan! Wait wait… maybe it’s a white peony… no… it’s a bai mu dan. No…

What’s with the AKAs, you know?

This tea is soft and sweet and pleasant, with a grassy/cucumber taste to the sip. There’s an astringent, dry feeling towards the end that ends with a kind of lingering, crisp pepper-y-ness flavor.

I’m not a huge fan of unflavored white tea, as it tends to be a little more… delicate than I think I truly appreciate at this point. It’s good, it tastes good, but it’s not quite the tea I want to drink, you know?

This was a trial against Teavivre’s White Peony, the non-organic version that they so graciously included with my order. The Teavivre version won by a slight margin. Though, we are only comparing first steepings, and Missy pointed out that the leaves from Teavivre look like they’ve barely warmed up. They probably have a good two or three steepings left to them.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Man, and to think we almost didn’t order this one.

I’m drinking the second steeping of this Razzleberry, which we let go for about 3:45 (being a second steeping and all), and it… is… great.

I’m going to have some sort of Quantum Leap moment tomorrow, when I get around to trying the first steeping, but until then I won’t really be able to compare the two. The berry on this one is nice, a fruity sweetness playing with the tea without overpowering it. It doesn’t taste artificial or overhanded, which is great.

Another well done SBT. I might have to get another order of this stuff in on Tuesday after I get paid :)

Iced 3 min, 45 sec

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drank Rum Butter by Market Spice
185 tasting notes

This is sort of a bread and butter tea, it’s nice and cheap, it’s comforting, and the sweet rum flavor on the tea itself is very calming. It’s a great kick-back-after-a-long-day tea.

We brewed this up today to compare it to the Pot O Gold from 52teas. It falls a little flat in the flavor comparison. It’s still good, and it’s still probably going to be a permanent collection tea, because of the price. It is an awful lot of enjoyment for $0.94/oz.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Pot O' Gold by 52teas
185 tasting notes

This a very creamy, smooth butterscotch black tea. Odd choice for an 80 degree day, but oh well! The butterscotch flavor is first and most apparent, but I want to say there’s something… I don’t know… caramelly, toasted nutty on the end of that flavoring in there. Something a little more deep. It’s quite tasty.

We drank this next to our Buttered Rum tea from MarketSpice, and the MS version definitely falls a little flat in comparison. The flavor is a little more distinguished, more solid.

A big thanks to Azz for the sample on this one :)

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Your welcome! I do love this one!

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My fiancé and I are beginning to enjoy tea infusion, and it’s slowly becoming an interesting hobby that the two of us can share. Maybe not slowly… it’s somewhat amazing how much tea you can buy when everything looks shiny and new.

Tea Rating system:

90 – 100: This is a tea I will always have on hand at work, and at home. I will leave it on altars as offerings of perfection.

80 – 89: This, or one of it’s close cousins, will likely be in my cabinet at home. When this tea runs out, I will buy more. I’ll always wonder if there is something better, but be too afraid to look to stray from home to find it.

70 – 79: Definitely good, but not a clear winner. I enjoy it, I’ll finish it, but I probably won’t buy it again until I’ve exhausted all other versions of this product from any reputable retailer. Though, it may enjoy a resurrection for custom blending.

60 – 69: This tea is okay, but definitely not something I’m going to brew again. I’m going to give what I have left away.

30 – 59: I didn’t finish drinking this tea. I actually poured it out, and went for something else. I’ll still give this tea away, but I’ll do it with a warning and a plead for forgiveness.

0 – 29: This tea is riding securely towards an iceberg at the helm of the failboat. I’ve taken this out of my tea tin, and laid it on a napkin as potpurri. I do not consider it fit for human consumption.


Tacoma, Washington, United States

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