Review: Tao Tea Leaf Keemun Gongfu

Black Tea, Keemun Tea, Tao Tea Leaf Add comments
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This smokiness is beautifully nuanced and serves to convey other flavor components with class, particularly the wonderful taste of lightly burned caramel."
Jamie’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 10/10, Shaiha gave it 5.5/10, Chelsy gave it 5.8/10, Vanessa gave it 8.3/10, Sophie gave it 9.1/10, Katie gave it 7.6/10
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This Keemun from Tao Tea Leaf, based in Canada, displays short to medium length jet black leaves with a thin and wiry appearance and a smoky scent punctuated by a high pitched sweet and earthy quality that immediately beckoned.

I sampled this using two different times for brewing and found I liked a three minute steep best. The four minute steep was too strong for me and I found the tea tasted more smoky but mostly more acidic to me with a longer steeping. You may want to experiment a bit. I used a teaspoon of leaf per 8 ounces of freshly boiled, filtered water for my steepings.

The three minute steep produces a dark copper cup with a fabulous taste - sweet, full and smoky with caramel flavor. The body is light but the flavor very full in the mouth, a pleasing contrast. Smoky, dry flavor lingers in the mouth, lighting up the cheeks a bit. I found the tea to have a pleasant astringency to it. I enjoyed this tea as a wake up tea. The smokiness of this tea never hides, but it's bold without being brassy and lacks the drowned campfire taste that smoked teas can exhibit occasionally. This smokiness is beautifully nuanced and serves to convey other flavor components with a lot of class. The tea has a wonderful taste of lightly burned caramel and I fully enjoyed every sip. I found a little sweetener an enjoyable but not strictly necessary addition. It serves to wake up the sweetness of the tea and move that forward a bit. It also tapers the light astringency. I liked it best added to a second infusion, which is also delightful and can be left to steep for a while without fear of bitterness.

Very enjoyable! A tasty Keemun that I could happily sip quite often, morning or afternoon. This tea has also just been awarded first place in the 2011 North American Tea Championship for Keemuns! Congratulations to Tao Tea Leaf.

— To purchase Tao Tea Leaf Keemun Gongfu, 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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