Review: Vicony Teas Hao Ya B

Black Tea, Keemun Tea, Vicony Teas Add comments
K’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It's about as macho a flavour can get."
K’s Teaview: 8.9/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 9.3/10, Geoff gave it 9.2/10
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viconyhaiyaBVicony has two Keemun Hao Ya teas, which according to their website, are graded in a hierarchical way. That is to say their Grade A is a better grade than their Grade B. Not to be confused it their other Keemun grades, "Special Grade," "1st Grade," "2nd Grade," and so on. Whew. While this doesn't get the label of "highest Keemun standard available," it's immediately apparent that this must come darn close. The leaves are small and uniform, curled, black with gold flecks. They are unbroken, skillfully made, and beautiful. Their scent reminds me of smoke, tobacco, leather, and horses.

I use about 1 tablespoon for six ounces 190° water and steep 3 minutes. Prepared, the smell of horses is gone, but the tobacco, smoke and leather all remain in the deep brown liquor. Those characteristics carry through to the flavour. It is a rich, hearty, meaty, satisfying tea with a full body and full mouthfeel. The richness of the cup lingers, and overall it is extremely smooth and full of character.

Steep two is 190°, 5 minutes. This cup has a lighter liquor and much lighter scent. It has a more minimalist flavour with more sourness and tobacco character than anything else. It's an all right cup, and though it's not nearly as compelling as the first, I'd happily resteep again.

Vicony is technically bulk orders only, but their minimum order quantity is a mere 2 kg, with at least 1 kg of each tea you order. It's designed so small tea shops can order direct from China or importers can order sample quantities. That means that if you really want to order any of their teas, you have to pretend to be a tea shop and either have to drink a lot or find some friends to split the order with. Alternatively, you could see if any of your local stores will order on your behalf. Or find another way to get creative. Or maybe just pout.

This is not a prissy, lace doilies and fine china dishes black tea. It's hearty and rich and I would certainly find it revolting if blended with milk or sugar. If you're worried about appearing unmanly while sipping your tea, then drink this; it's about as macho a flavour can get. This is fantastic stuff and, while my sample remains, my new morning jolt tea.

— 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.

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