Monday, August 30, 2010

A new Keemun

I do love the Gothic period - all those tall thin arches and tracery. This is
of course, Vienna.

If you would be interested in getting some glimpses of the Assam tea growing area, tea gardens, factories and such, go to and check it out. It is quite interesting. Not as good as going in person, but a lot cheaper.

For today, however, I am going to China, specifically to the area that pro- duces Keemun [Qimen] tea. I said I had bought a number of Keemun samples from the new lots at Upton's and this is the first one I am trying. It is so exciting to have the new samples! Actually, to be really aware of and be waiting impatiently for new teas is exciting. Guess I am moving down the road with my tea sampling.

This particular one is organic Dao Ming Keemun. The leaves are quite small but the dry scent -oh my goodness, what a treat. Earthy, but so fresh, like the cask of a really dark red wine - Burgundy, perhaps a bit oaky, with a hint of acid and a whiff of smoke. I followed directions and brewed it for 5 minutes, but I think that was a little too long. The brewing tea smelled so fresh , the smoke had gone, but the winey earthiness remained. It carried right on through to the actual taste of this lovely reddish gold tea. At times it seemed more winey, at others, more of an oaken nature came through. My second cup I had with a bit of cream, which smoothed away the rough edges from brewing it just a bit too long. Next time I am going to do 4.5 minutes. The taste lingers in your mouth and teases out other nuances, but sadly, I can't think how to describe them.

This is an excellent tea for a very low price - about $6.40 for 3.5 ounces. Upton's usually gives you enough in a sample for about 7-8 cups, which I think is very generous. Some of their very rare teas are only enough for 1 cup, but that is quite unusual. Their web address is I have done business with them for over 25 years and have always been satisfied with their service and teas. Not that I have liked them all, but they have always been of good quality and fair prices. This year, I did notice, both with them and many others, tea prices have gone up a lot. The weather really affected the tea estates world wide.

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