Sunday, August 19, 2012

Teavivre, Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black Tea

The first of my latest round of Teavivre samples. When I look back through time, I am thankful to Bigleow and Twinings for helping me take my first few steps on my tea journey. Teavivre, however, has taught me to spread my wings and soar. I am not saying that because I am reviewing another of their free samples. I mean it. I literally compare most teas I taste with the memory of something I have reviewed from Teavivre. The most notable exception being Earl Grey – but then they don’t carry an Earl Grey.

I also remember, less than a year ago receiving my first Keemun from Teavivre. I was a bit terrified of it. It seemed so smoky. I was sure it was good because I trusted Teavivre knew what they were doing. I kept sipping, and it wasn’t long before I learned to enjoy it. Then I began to understand it really was not all that smoky. How will this superfine Keemun fair? Let's see.

So, I open this bag and smell malt and grain - like wheat. An excellent start. I pour out one scoop of leaf – about 3 grams, and put it in my press. The dry leaf looks like thin twisted threads of dark chocolate with flecks of milk chocolate intermixed. The picture isn't up close enough to reveal the beauty of the leaf.

Next, I heat 12oz of water to just below boiling and pour over the leaf. The steep time was 2 ½ minutes, halfway between the recommended 2-3 minutes. The brew is lighter than expected and orange in color. The wet leaf scent is pretty much that of the dry - malty grain.

The sip is first malt, then wheat, followed by honey. There are flashes of light cocoa notes. It is a bit fruity. Many report sweet potato notes. I get that, but it was not as strong as some other black Chinese teas I've tried. This kind of reminds me of Bailin Gongfu.

This is very, very smooth. You could slam this down with out thinking about it. I choose to sip slowly. There is no bitterness and no bite. You could probably brew this strong and work the tannins into a frenzy but prepared per the instructions this seems light on the stomach. What I am not noticing is smoke. I was fully expecting some but it is not present.

Cup two, at 3 minutes, continues where cup one left off. It is now a little sweeter and that sweetness really lingers in the aftertaste. Cup three is very similar.

This is a very nice tea. The only negative comment I could offer is that oddly, I find myself missing the smoke that frightened me a year ago. That is not the fault of the tea. Rather it is my understanding of what makes a Keemun that is to blame. If you don't enjoy a smoky tea, then this is the Keemun for you. If you like a light smoky tea try the Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea.

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