Scent in tin: slightly smoky and a bit malty
Brewed in: unbleached filter bags
Steeped: 4-5 min@ boiling
Cup: Café mug
When I was ordering Keemun teas, I tried to get all Hao Ya designations for comparative purposes. But alas, Adagio was out of stock on their “Keemun Encore”, so I had to settle for this tea, which is designated Mao Feng. Since I really just wanted to try out Keemun teas, it didn’t seem like to great a “sacrifice” to have one different.
What I wasn’t expecting was such a great difference. The dried Mao Feng leaves are quite a bit larger and longer than the Hao Ya, and they sport tiny golden tips, like a baby Yunnan tea. The scent is amazing, much bolder and more smoky that the Hao Ya. I practically salivated just looking at and smelling the dry leaves, so I was fairly sure the tasting would not disappoint either.
The tea brews up to a rich dark brown liquor, but it seems to lose the heady smoky scent after the leaves are steeped. The taste is quite different – smoky, rich and bold in the beginning, but as it cools, it quickly changes to more of a very sweet almost charcoal taste (though not quite “charred” like something burnt, more the “sense” of charcoal than an actual taste). It seems thicker to start, and thin as it cools. It struck me as a “lapsang wannabe” at first, that lapsed into having a thinner, less exciting flavor profile after just a short amount of time in the cup.
It’s not a bad tea, just mediocre, and unexciting. Compared to the complexity of the Hao Ya Keemun, this one leaves much to be desired, in my opinion. It’s too bad, because it *looks* beautiful, and the scent is very intoxicating. But I think I’d reach for a good lapsang or bohea before I’d grab this if given the choice.
I’ll finish my sample, but won’t be reordering this one. I may order a sample of their Hao Ya grade when it’s back in stock though, just for comparison.