Review: Vicony Teas Hao Ya B

Black Tea, Keemun Tea, Vicony Teas Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The aroma was smoky-sweet with a faint scent of pine on inhale."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.2/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 9.3/10, Katie gave it 8.9/10
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viconyhaiyaBKeemn Hong Cha - or, Keemun Red Tea - is considered one of the Ten Famous Chinese Teas. I've made reference to this dubious hierarchy before. Of the teas on the list, aside from Ti Guanyin, Keemun was my least favorite. I only ran into two I particularly liked, one being a supposed "Congou"-grade tea; the highest of the high. Or perhaps just different. The golden pekoe, Hao Ya, is toward the bottom (or laterally to the side in quality) and divided into two sub-grades; A and B.

Confusing? Completely.

Vicony Teas touts that they've been in the business since 1875, and own their own tea gardens and factories. One of their biggest claims to fame is being front and center - and involved - in the production of the first types of Keemun black teas. I found it rather fascinating, and it would represent the first time I was trying something from a Chinese distributor, rather than a Western brand.

I was already impressed with the dry presentation. The visual quality was prevalent. Leaves were clean, black, rolled and twisty; definitely Keemun in appearance, just "neater" than I've encountered in the past. Lighter colored needles were hidden among the darker ones, just as the Vicony tea profile described. The aroma was smoky-sweet with a faint scent of pine on inhale.

With all the information on the Vicony site, I was let down to see there weren't any brewing tips. In this particular case, I had hoped there would be given Keemun's temperament for screwed-up steeps. If it was off by a minute, I would've been in for a very astringent experience. I brewed 1 tsp in 8oz of 190F water for three minutes.

Since I was a bit reserved in my steep-time, the liquor brewed to a vibrant ochre. Not the usual mahogany for the standard four-minute infusions. A malty scent strongly wafted from the cup, quite pleasant. The flavor really surprised me, for it had some of the molasses-like notes of a good second flush Darjeeling. None of the spice, however. The aftertaste also possessed a shade of sweetness similar to what was detected in the dry smell. I would definitely say this beat out the other Keemuns I had the displeasure of sampling by a wide margin.

And I say that with no ennui. Get it? Ennui..."Anhui" in the Province? Eeeh?

Well, I thought it was funny.

— To purchase Vicony Teas Hao Ya B, 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: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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