Review: Vicony Teas Keemun Aromatic Snail Tea

Black Tea, Keemun Tea, Vicony Teas Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Unique wouldn't even begin to cover this Keemun. It is an odyssey, but a good one."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.3/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 8.5/10
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Vicony Teas has a rather proud and fascinating history. Not only do they have the most extensive Keemun list of any tea vendor I've seen, but they were around in some fashion during Keemun's inception. Legend has it that the owner's great-great-grandfather joined the famed failed civil servant in journeying to Fujian province to learn the black tea trade. 125 years later and the family business is still going strong with a bountiful selection of burly, sweet Keemun teas to choose from. The last two I tried from the op were superb, so I was looking forward to sampling newer ones.

I was already aware of the four true types of Keemun - Hao Ya, Mao Feng, Gongfu, and Xin Ya. What I was unaware of was that other types were also in development. The Aromatic Snail is a relatively new variant on the Keemun formula. It gets its name from the production method, which is similar to a famous Chinese green tea - Bi Luo Chun, or "Green Snail Spring". Only leaf buds plucked prior to the Qing Ming Festival (early spring) are used for the production of this tea. The result - they claim - is a Keemun with a more delicate flavor.

It certainly lived up to the "Aromatic" part of its name, bestowing bold scent of sweet flowers, grapes and spice I only thought to find in Darjeeling blacks. The leaf buds themselves ranged in color from black to tippy gold. In fact, I was rather surprised it had a tippy presence at all; not a trait I associate with Keemun.

I coudn't find any brewing instructions on the site. Typical approach I used for blacks was boiling water and a three-minute steep. It had worked for other Keemuns of varying strength. I went with 1 heaping teaspoon in 8oz of boiled water for just that amount of time.

The Snail brewed up a little lighter than the average Keemun, imparting a solid amber color ringed with faint crimson. The mouthpiece aroma was all malt and honey; it definitely had the Keemun sweetness down from what little I could tell by nostril touch. That sweetness also reared its sassy head in the foretaste. Where most Keemuns have a decidedly blunt profile on initial sip, this imparted a dessert-like quality. The middle was woody, smokey, and creamy all at the same time. Astringency showed up a tad in the finish, but was helped along by a floral exit. Unique wouldn't even begin to cover this Keemun. It is an odyssey, but a good one.

— To purchase Vicony Teas Keemun Aromatic Snail Tea, 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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