Whoa. This morning I have had my first pot of Keemun, a Chinese black tea that I've been wanting to try for a while. This one came from SanTion House of Tea - one of a number of samples that I purchased from them recently - and I just had to blog about it straight away, no photos, no nothing (though you can see a photo of it on the company's website here). This is listed as an 'A-grade' tea, unfortunately there was no B-grade for me to compare it with, but that's ok.
As soon as I opened the little packet I was struck by the strong bitter-chocolate scent from the dry leaves, with a touch of something sweeter as well, like a dark honey. I brewed about 2.5 grams (half the sample) for 3.5 minutes in about 300ml of water (might go a little longer and with a little less water next time) to produce a stunning copper-coloured infusion with a fragrance of cocoa - like cocoa being made with milk on the stove, not chocolate per se - and the smoothest mouth-feel I've ever had from a black tea. Like, no astringency at all. It was like drinking velvet. A nibble of plain buttered light rye toast went well alongside.
I have made a second infusion of the leaves and it produced a reasonable cup, though not quite as good as the first. I am torn between saving the rest of the little sample for another day, or totally caffeinating myself by using it up now (I've also had a small pot of iced sencha this morning)... oh the temptation. This kind of experience is dangerous, I find... Like right now I really should be doing laundry... but instead all I want to do is sit around sipping tea all day and compose - well, not necessarily poetry - but something, blog posts, probably - the modern equivalent of the ancient Chinese tea sages, about whom I've been reading a lot lately...
Maybe I'll just go and sniff at the leaves for a bit and contemplate restraint. Heh.