Monday, January 26, 2015

Teavivre, Superfine Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea

Teavivre Description:
Keemum Mao Feng, one special variety of Keemun black tea origins from Qi Men County in Anhui province of China, has famous reputation for its peculiar aroma and shape. It has also been made widely familiar as one of the four world’s best black tea.

Sample provided by Teavivre

My Review:
I just received a batch of samples from Teavivre. These are mainly for review on Steepster. This one, however, is a new to me tea. It gets moved to the front of the list to be tasted on The Everyday Tea Blog.

When I review teas, I try to remain neutral. I want to be as impartial as possible, leaving my personal preferences behind. In truth, I am human and certain companies and types of tea just naturally appeal to me more. Everything I have tried from Teavivre has been excellent or very nearly so, and it just so happens that Chinese black tea (red tea in China) is among my very favorite personal teas. So, joy!

I opened the bag and caught a light slightly sweet, slightly sour aroma that at first made me think fresh tobacco, then hay. Keemuns are often a little smoky. This one is not.

The leaf is long, thin, slightly twisted strands. The coloring is dark browns with some golden tips. After some whole leaf pu-erhs I have been drinking lately, this leaf seems small and delicate.

The press was used along with 10oz of water heated to 194F per Teavivre's recommendation.  I used half the sample, or 3.5g. I find I can trust Teavivre for their temperature and steeping guidelines. They tend to call for double the amount of leaf I prefer to use. I tend to stay consistent from tea to tea with the leaf.

The steep was for 2 1/2 minutes. The result is a brass colored liquor. It is light and see through. It is not the heavy dark cup of tea one expects if they are accustomed to tea bag black tea.

The cup and the wet leaf have the same aroma. It is lightly malt drenched in honey. Yum. That's what I love about Chinese black tea.

When tasting, I again get a touch of malt, along with honey. There is a bread or baked quality to the taste, like from cocoa. The liquor feels kind of thick but o so gentle and smooth. There is nothing suggesting harsh, or bitter here. There is only a light drying touch of astringency.

At times I get moments of mineral, like creek rock (not sure why the last few teas I've reviewed have had this note - I can only report what I sense). Other moments I get a taste of fruit, maybe apricot. There are even occasional floral notes.

Given my level of familiarity with the type, I am not convinced I would be able to identify this as a Keemun from tasting alone. Keemun is identified by being produced exclusively in the Qimen County in Anhui province. I am not yet skilled enough to identify a growing region.

I am skilled enough in my tasting abilities to say with confidence this is a really nice tea.

You can find Teavivre, Superfine Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea, here.

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