Thursday, March 6, 2014
Teavivre, Keemun Black Tea - Grade 1
The most popular black tea in China and considered one of the finest teas in the world, TeaVivre's grade 1 Keemun has a strong, fruity aroma and a bold, layered, fruit and floral like taste that lingers in your mouth long after you finish drinking it. Not quite at the same level as our Keemum Golden Tips, it is still a very high quality tea, and is great to drink everyday.
Sample provided by Teavivre
I remember my first sip of Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea from Teavivre. I was terrified of it and drawn to it like a moth to flame. That was my first experience with Keemun outside of tea blends. That tea was also my first exposure to quality smoky tea. So let me state right now Grade 1 is not a smoky tea. There is nothing to fear here.
I opened the sample bag and breathed in the fresh green grassy and grain scent. Nothing like I expect from a black tea. There is just a hint of malt. Removing a spoon of leaf it looks dark at dusty with some golden tips visible. The hand rolled leaf looks small and light.
I am preparing this western style. It was steeped with 185 F water for 3 minutes. The result is a coppery bronze liquor than is lighter than I expected. Teavivre has a picture on their website prepared Chinese gong fu style that looks bright yellow. They use more leaf, less water, and very short steeps for multiple tiny cups.
The taste is so smooth I wondered if I had the right tea. The taste has hints of fruit and flowers. There is no bitterness to be found. It feels thick and creamy almost foamy. There is malt late in the sip. This is really good. I do not find it to be bold prepared western mug style. I'm thinking this may deserve another session later with a gaiwan and some really short steeps.
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