by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author)
On a number of occasions my humans have been eager to dive into a particular sample of this or that tea. So it was with this Keemun 1110. They cut the seals and popped open the can to be greeted by… air! Yes, the can was not full to the top. Not surprising since the tea is sold by the weight, not the volume. But it did mean that the escaping air carried with it some of the aromas and flavors that should have been in the tea leaves. I know, my humans and I are picky… and spoiled rotten by vacuum-sealed pouches. Well, that minor issue aside, it’s time to see how the tea was. As you can tell by the title, my humans and I were not exactly bowled over.
First, the aroma was good but rather light and a bit smoky (typical for a Keemun). The first steep shown above was done for 3 minutes using boiling water; the taste was a bit bitter, and my humans suspected that they had used too much dry tea leaves. So we started over with a new teaspoon full and steeped by yours truly. This time we infused for 5 minutes. Yes, the conventional wisdom says that you use more leaves and steep shorter times, but the thing about conventional wisdom is that it needs to vary with the tea and individual circumstances. That’s one reason you humans should feel free to try things out, especially with a tea that is new to you. This second round was better, still bitter, more smoky, but with milk and sweetener it was rather pleasant, which probably explains why this tea is used a lot in blends, especially Scottish Breakfast blends from some vendors.
We’ll be using the rest of the sample for our own blending in future and hopefully remembering to post the results here if time allows.
Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.
© 2014 A.C. Cargill photos and text