I just received a new tea book, my favorite thing. It is written by Roy Fong of the Imperial Tea Court store. Since I pre-ordered mine, it is even signed. The Great Teas of China is part memoir, part a discussion of the teas Roy feels are the best. I have only had time to look through it very briefly, but it looks very interesting. What I have read I have thoroughly enjoyed. It would make a great gift for someone you know who loves Chinese tea. It is wonderful for me, as I am only beginning to explore this vast area. I have gotten especially fond of some of the green teas. . Please see www.imperialtea.com or http://camelliasinesisblog.blogspot.com for more on this book or how to order. Today, however, I am going to talk about a black tea.
Chinese Keemun tea was first processed about 1875 – a relative newcomer to Chinese teas. My sample comes from Simpson and Vail, part of my latest order. The dry leaves are small and very black. It has a pleasant fresh roast corn scent and I brewed it for about 4 minutes at 212. The first sips run right to the back and sides of my tongue. It is an earthy, coppery taste, that changes frequently as it cools, going through a phase of strong dark fruits, almost like prunes, but not sweet. It ends with a sharp floral taste. What an adventure! A very good tea. http://www.svtea.com/
I think the very good to great teas are like that – every cup is an adventure. It is less so with many of the straightforward black teas, but with some Darjeelings, certainly with Oolongs and greens, there is a lot of flavor nuance with every cup, you never really know where you are going or where you will end up!