Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Teavivre
Absolutely exceptional, premium Keemun Hao Ya black tea
- Handmade Gongfu process tea from Qimen county, Anhui province
- Dark black, glossy thin buds topped with golden tips
- Makes a bold copper coloured tea
- A bold but smooth, fruity taste with a lingering, mellow aftertaste
- Moderate caffeine (less than 20% of a cup of coffee)
- 1-2 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 194 ºF (90 ºC) for 2 to 3 minutes
Rated as the best of Chinese black teas, Keemun is an absolute delight to drink. TeaVivre’s Premium Keemun represents the highest quality of this tea generally available to the public, and has a taste, aroma and appearance that completely justifies its reputation as one of the best black teas in the world. Handmade in Keemun’s birthplace of Qimen, this tea is simply stunning.
I strongly agree with the above description of this tea. It truly is a stunning tea. From the moment I opened the pouch, I could smell the smoky tones of this tea, but I liked that it wasn’t an overwhelming smoky note.
And while I’m touching on the subject of the packaging (or rather, the opening of the packaging), I’d like to take a moment to discuss this packaging and just how impressed I am with it. The outer pouch is one of those resealable, “stand-up” Mylar-type packages that is completely opaque which protects the tea properly by not allowing any light to reach the tea leaves. It is air-tight and will keep air and moisture out and away from the tea. Inside the Mylar pouch is another pouch (not resealable, this is just a thin, foil-like pouch).
While this type of packaging may not be considered the most environmentally sound packaging available, as someone who has been involved with tea for many years, I can say that this is one of the most respectful packaging that I’ve encountered. Respectful to the tea, that is. And that really MEANS something to me. I have encountered some tea companies who are all about the money and while, yes, a profit IS important to any tea company, the product should be at least just as important. Teavivre has proven to me that they care and respect the teas they represent … and this is evident, not just by their packaging, but also by the exquisite tea itself.
The smokiness is stronger in the scent than in the flavor, although the smoky tones are certainly present in the flavor. Beneath that smoky top-layer, I can taste many wonderful layers, creating an intense complexity that surprised me. Sure, other Keemun teas that I’ve tried have been complex, but, this one is unique in just how exceptionally bold it is, while still maintaining the complexity I’d expect from a top quality Keemun.
That is to say that this tea is a hearty one, making it a perfect choice to enjoy with breakfast. It has a wonderful, smoky kind of caramel-y sweetness that is delightful, and beneath that sweetness I can taste a fruity tone that is reminiscent of a sweet, dry wine. But this tea has far less astringency than a typical dry wine … or even a typical black tea, for that matter. Instead, it is incredibly smooth despite its somewhat rustic smokiness. There is a certain sophistication to this cup, making me think more of a brandy than a wine (although, I’m not all that comfortable making that comparison, as I’m far less familiar – not at all familiar! – with alcoholic beverages).
This is absolutely one of the best Keemun teas I’ve yet to try.
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!