Keemun Imperial Black Tea is one of the more expensive Keemun offerings from Teavivre. Spoiler alert regarding the upcoming review….I am placing it on my re-order list right now.
The instructions on my packet of leaves said to make it at 185F and steep for about three minutes. I hesitated about following those instructions because it is out of the norm for how I make my black teas, but I do usually go with 195F for Keemun teas, so I followed their recommendation and lowered the temp a bit more. Crossing fingers because oh, how I love my Keemun teas!
First sip, and immediately I heard a song playing in my head….”I’ll stop the world and melt with you…”. Oh my goodness. Stop. Breathe. Close,your eyes. Hug in a cup, comforting shawl, slipping into a warm bubble bath, whatever floats your boat as metaphor for a riveting tea experience, here it is.
This smells like TEA. Rich, lovely, calming, soothing TEA. Baked sweet potato, bread-y and malty, burnt caramel, and the lightest waft of smoke that is probably just an image coming from the gentle briskness that gives that tiny rasp on the tongue that lets you know you are having a Keemun, all somehow swimming in a very light-bodied liquor. As I sip more, the briskness grows a little, and I find this a perfect tea to sip with my chocolate chip and pecan scone.
It’s going to be a good day.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Teavivre
The fresh leaves for making this tea grew in the original producing area of Keemun tea, at an average elevation of 800 m above sea level. The one bud with one leaf (which just starts to open up, called Chu zhan “初展”) is hand-plucked for making this tea around the Chinese season of Qing Ming in early spring days. These fresh first-plucking leaves for making are loaded with nutrients and hence the finished dry leaves are neat and bold with high percentage of tiny golden tips. There is a sweet, mellow taste which creates a pleasant smooth sensation in your mouth. Overall, the first infusion of this tea is high in roasted sweet potato flavor mixed somewhat flower aroma, the second infusion is very mellow and the third infusion‘s lingering sweet and fragrant aftertaste will give you more enjoyment.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
I’m learning to love unflavored teas this year, and this beautiful offering from Tea Vivre really makes my job easy! Without even opening the bag, I’m already impressed with the gaiwan tea ceremony directions and WOW! The heritage on this tea is amazing, down to the day of when and where it was harvested (April 8, 2017). The gongfu style black tea is named after where it was grown, Tanyang Village in Fujian, of South East China.
The adventure continues as I reveal Twisted ropes of gold and brown… I’ve never seen this type of tea before, it’s actually soft with some fuzzies on it. A green-thumbed friend of mine called this style of leaves “pubescent”, meaning they were just barely mature.
Still dry, they offer a light, clear, inviting scent, like fresh sweet peas in the garden. I decided to taste a leaf, (they make coffee bean snacks so it’s not that crazy to do, right??) and we are reminded of the chocolate noodles they sample out of Pikes place market.
The walnut colored brew offers a hint of honey taste though none was added. I never expected this sort of delicate leaf to be so powerful! They say the longer you brew this style, the mellower the flavor will be, which is quite the opposite of most teas I’ve had, and it’s completely true!! Now I’m curious about the actual chemistry of tannins etc… oh the rabbit holes of science we can get caught up in…
It is “zero percent bitter” and easy to drink (Hanley, R.,2017). There is a refreshing aftertaste, maybe a subtle hint of wintergreen. This tea doesn’t have much of an aftertaste but I tended to wait a while between sips because this tea was just so transcendental that I couldn’t help but daydream about it.
If ever you need to impress someone with a tea, this is the one!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black, loose leaf
Where to Buy: TeaVivre
Being the first one among Fujian’s three best Gong Fu Black Teas (Bai Lin Gong Fu, Zheng He Gong Fu, Tan Yang Gong Fu), Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea has tight and thin leaves, looks glossy, which could be seen from TeaVivre’s product photo. When looking at this tea, the golden pekoe is particularly eye-catching, strongly connected to its high quality. Under the effect of photosynthesis, fresh buds contain the largest amount of beneficial substances than other parts. Moreover, the traditional making method of black tea has retained the nutrition in the most volume.
Black tea is renowned with it red leaves and red liquid. The liquid of Tan Yang Gong Fu is bright red, and clean, which brings you a feeling of pureness. The flavor will vary based on different amount of teas and time of infusion. If using gai wan to brew in traditional Chinese way (Recommend Brewing Guide), you will sense the sweet and mellow flavor, and feel a quick sweet aftertaste in your throat. The aroma of Tan Yang Gong Fu will float around you for a long time.