|"This was infringing on Lapsang Souchong territory...and doing it well."|
The vendor didn't mention what grade of Keemun this was, but it didn't come across as anything I was inherently familiar with. The leaves were what one would expect from a Keemun. They were dark; they were curly - I wish I had more to add there. What was a bit against type was a residual smokiness to the batch. I've heard of Keemuns being that way, but never really encountered it until now. Some sweetness was also detectable on after-whiff. I did not get any hint of plums, though, as Teasatia described it.
Brewing instructions called for a boiled water gongfu prep - oops. I was at work when I tried this, so I couldn't adhere to specifics. At my disposal were a coffee cup and 200F water from a coffee maker's spigot. Not exactly proper and/or traditional Chinese brewing utensils. By any stretch. I let it steep for four-ish minutes.
What resulted was not something I expected. Sure, it looked like a crimson-to-brown, full-bodied liquor on appearance. Steam wafting from the mouthpiece betrayed the usual astringent sweetness associated with Keemuns. But the taste completely threw me. On the forefront there was an initial sweetness - which I hoped for - but then the middle rushed in with a bold, charcoal-smoky profile. Part of this may have been my lax brew methods, but also some of that might've been the natural character of the tea. Either way, I was taken aback and floored. This was infringing on Lapsang Souchong territory...and doing it well. This is one memorable (and manly) Keemun.
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