Review: Teasatia Keemun

Black Tea, Keemun Tea, Teasatia Add comments
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Oddly, a 30-second (first) infusion was surprising as far as how full and rich the flavor was! A delicious malty cup with a bit of floral darjeeling flavor - a cup superior to a standard 3-4 minute steep."
Dan’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Jamie gave it 9/10, Shaiha gave it 6.8/10, Geoff gave it 9/10, Chelsy gave it 6.2/10, Vanessa gave it 8.7/10
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I'm a bit of a Keemun newbie, I suppose, although I have had some in the past. Back in the early days of my tea knowledge expansion, I had searched for teas unknown to me in various Chinatowns and local Asian grocers for unique and interesting varieties I couldn't find at my supermarket. I came across a box of bagged Keemun tea once, and enjoyed it quite a bit. What I recall from that tea is not quite what I would call a top quality Keemun, I'm sure, but it's my only reference point. I remember it being somewhat smoky -- not like a lapsang souchong, but enough to make it stand apart from every day imbibement. A bit of history on Keemun, it is a relatively "new" tea, and was "discovered" somewhat by accident in 1875 by a Chinese civil servant who attempted to replicate the black teas being produced in the Fujian province. After returning to Anhui province, the resultant tea produced was Keemun, which grew in popularity and became a staple ingredient in English Breakfast tea blends.

Teasatia's mission statement (or my interpretation of it, anyway) is to select the finest whole-leaf teas, and offer top quality, pure teas that are just that - teas. Not blended varietals or flavored mutations, but straight up tea. The four basic varieties of tea (white, green, black and oolong) are offered, but in those, they limit their selection to 15 teas total, thus able to focus on quality over quantity. That's admirable. I find that some of the best companies thrive on this policy - particularly burger joints. In 'n Out Burger and Five Guys are two great examples -- do a burger and fries, and do them well. Forget all the other stuff.

Teasatia's Keemun is much unlike the aforementioned bagged variety I experienced years ago - particularly in quality. The leaves are fine to medium grade in size, but it is evident that it is all quality leaf, with nary a speck of dust or fannings. The color is monotoned deep mahogany, with a very very few lighter brown speckles peppered throughout. Aroma of the dried leaf is very malty, with a bit of sweetness.

A standard black tea brewing methodology of 3 minutes and sub-boiling water provides a very nice, bright coppery cup. Aroma of the liquor is more slight but similar. Initial reactions from the palette are a malty black tea flavor, followed by a slight hint of smokiness. I'm not really getting the dried plum and/or floral finish described by Teasatia, nor the dry aftertaste, but there is a slight bit of astringency after a good 3/4 cup or so.

One thing I find odd after pulling up the suggested brewing instructions from Teasatia is that they suggest a 30-second infusion, followed by two subsequent infusions each 30-seconds longer than the last. I wouldn't have thought to brew a black tea in this manner, but I give it a shot. I was surprised at how full and rich the flavor was! The initial infusion presents a delicious malty cup with a bit of floral Darjeeling flavor (now I see where Teasatia is coming from) - a cup superior to even the first 3-minute infusion. Infusion #2 (1:30) is somewhat weaker, but still flavorful. I would guess that these two infusions together over ice would make a very nice summertime pitcher. Infusion #3 (also 1:30) is forgettable, a standard replica of what happens when you try steeping a black tea more than once. But that first 30-second infusion is really the business.

— To purchase Teasatia Keemun, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Dan Dan
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