Monday, 1 February 2010


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.


  1. I'm glad you had the chance to try Keemun - it's my favorite morning tea, one that I have almost daily. And drinking velvet is a very good way to describe it.

  2. Which tea company do you get your Keemun from Cha Sen? I'm looking forward to trying a variety of different ones to find my favourite!

    I had my second pot this morning, posted about it on steepster:

    I agree, it's a terrific morning tea!

  3. What a wonderful read! It really inspired me! I am a true lover of black tea and I went to get some from Santion after having read your post. I had bought some tea from Santion before and what an amazing one it was - one of my favorite black teas ever, they call it Black Needle! Amazing value! Thank you!

  4. I drink the Keemun Golden Buds from Rishi. Rishi has another Keemun tea but its flavor is not as satisfying as the Golden Buds. Hope you get a chance to try it.


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