Saturday, April 9, 2011

Keemun to the Left of Me, Qimen to the Right of Me

An ancient house of the winemakers guild in Bacharach Germany

It's almost warm today and the weathermen say we will have a bit of sun. I sure hope so, it's been on the gloomy side around here. I have gotten a number of plants by mail in the assumptions we are ready to plant them. Hardly. I don't think the frost is out of the ground. So today I will be potting them up and will begin the great Spring Porch Shuffle. Plants out in the am, in before dark. By real planting time, I will be very sick of them all. Such is gardening. The rest of the shipped bits were only roots and they can go in the fridge.

I discovered I have 7-8 different Keemun or Qimen samples, so for the next several days I will be comparing groups. Or maybe just reporting, as they are all different. I brewed them all for 4 minutes with water about 205 degrees. They all come from Anhui Province, China

First up is Upton's ZK20 Keemun FOP, meaning Flowery Orange Pekoe, which in turn means it came from large leaves. Four minutes was a bit too long, as it has tannic edges, my standard 3.5 would have been better. The dry leaves were quite small, very black and smelled strongly of old barn wood, very rich. As it brewed the tea became very dark, with a smooth earthy aroma with a hint of cocoa. The tea is smooth, with the very very barest trace of smoke, maybe a touch of spice - one of the warm ones, like nutmeg. In spite of the tannic edge, it leaves an almost sweet finish in your mouth.

Next is Tea Trekker's Keemun Mao Feng Premium, an organic tea. The leaves are long and wirey, tightly held. The dry aroma is winey, and woody. After brewing, it was clear that not all had unfurled, so I will do a second wash. By now there was what I can only describe as a corn and wet bracken scent, maybe a cultured earthiness? This tea is considerably lighter in color and much sweeter with some real cocoa hints , although I might describe it as Nestle's Quick, that ubiquitous childhood chocolate milk maker. I loved it, so that is by no means a put down. There were still some elements of corn to it. It is very smooth and leaves your mouth wanting more.

I would not want to have to choose between these two, but I am a little more weighted towards the latter, for what that's worth.

Tomorrow I will do Upton's Keemun Hen Ru and tea trekker's Keemun Hao Ya 'A'.

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