Review: Tao Tea Leaf Keemun Gongfu

Black Tea, Keemun Tea, Tao Tea Leaf Add comments
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is like the whisky shot of teas."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.6/10
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, Jamie gave it 8/10
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Also known as Qi Men Hao Ya (or however you want to spell it), this is one of the most distinct teas money can buy. It's my first sample from Tao of Tea, but the fact that they even carry a tea as interesting as a good Keemun is already a point in their favour. Another bonus is that they're Canadian, and decent Canadian companies make me giddy.

The small, curled leaves are uniform in size and mostly black with flecks of gold. They smell fantastically smoky. Tao of Tea's website has two brewing guidelines posted: One that is your basic 1 t/c and one that's semi-gong fu. I decide to ignore both and do full on gong fu, using about 5g of leaf for 80 mL water, 195°, 30 seconds.

The dark red-brown liquor smells smoky and woody with hints of tobacco and leather. As I sip, the two words that first come to mind are complex and intense. It is woody, smoky, and somewhat strangely sweet. It has roasted, fruity, and leathery notes. It's bold, not for the faint of heart, but it's a tea I would love to drink on occasion when in the right mood. Steep two is 45 seconds. Three is 50s, four is 90s. I could probably pull a few more steeps out, but I am ready to be done with this bold cup.

When prepared this way, this is like the whisky shot of teas. It's manly (yes, you can be feminine and drink whisky. it's a metaphor. don't take things so personally) and bracing and rich and hefty. It's a sipping leaf that you can nurse for a long time if you want. I used my entire sample for this batch, so I have no room to experiment with more mild-mannered attempts, but that doesn't bother me because I don't particularly want to. Sometimes I want a tea with intensity, and this hits the spot nicely.

If you have a friend who likes to brew their Red Rose/Lipton/Whatever for 10 minutes because they want something strong, try something like this to introduce him/her to the world of loose leaf. It'll probably either make 'em switch over enthusiastically or run screaming. Either way it should make for a fun evening.

— 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.

Teaviews Member: Katie Katie
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