Monday, December 31, 2007

Keemun Hao-Ya from T-Ching

I see that the T-Ching tasting notes are up, so I'm free to post my reviews here as well now. Since my nose is still rather stuffy & my taste "off", I'll post these reviews this week, and get back to "fresh" reviews next Monday. Enjoy!

Scent in package: lightly fruity/malty
Brewed in: Tea for one pot w/metal infuser
Steeped: 5 min. @ 212 degrees w/spring water
Cup: ceramic café mug

This tea is one of three in T-Ching’s latest online tasting event, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate in the reviews.

The dried leaves are small and uniform, tipped lightly throughout. I didn’t detect much of a fragrance from the dried leaves, but the tea smells heavenly as it brews, sweet and rich, with notes of chocolate and pepper along with a fruity note which carries right into the taste.

Like most Keemuns, the brew is contradictory, which is what makes it so interesting and appealing. The actual tea seems dark and thick in the cup, but as it flows over the tongue, it feels smooth and thin. The taste truly is “thick” however, and an array of flavors are present in the soup. It is fruity and muscatel at first, with notes of chocolate and pepper coming on later. Each sip finishes with an almost smoky astringency that stays in the mouth long after the tea itself is gone.

I’m a sipper, which means that the later half of any cup is inevitably cold before I get around to finishing it off. That also makes for some interesting tasting observations with certain teas, this being one of them. As it cools to room temperature, the smoky aftertaste disappears into sweetness, though the drying quality is still quite evident. The muscatel flavors come to the front, and the taste thins out, less complex with a sort of bittersweet quality coming through. Still very interesting, and very enjoyable, in my opinion.

It’s a good tea, interesting, many flavor notes, and quite enjoyable, especially as a morning wake-up cup.

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