Keemun 1st Grade
Tasting Notes: Very high quality floral and slightly smoky flavor. Long, smooth finish. A lovely cup.
(China/Black) Silvery grey, small and wiry. Keemun tea has been produced in China since about 1875 in Qimen County in Anhui province. The word Keemun is how Qimen became anglisized. Prior to 1875 only green tea was produced in this province while black tea was manufactured elsewhere in China, notably Fujian province. Today, Keemun tea is China's most popular tea.
There are five standard grades of Keemun and at least two officially recognized 'super' grades. The top quality of the standard group is this Keemun 1st Grade and, while all grades are prepared from the same plant, the higher the grade the more smaller leaves and buds are present, and the finer the cup. Beyond these standard grade are Hao Ya A and B, with A being the higher quality. Hao Ya A contains all buds.
Keemun leaves and buds are small and can infuse quickly. You may get up to five infusions from the same leaves.
Some sources suggest using boiling water while others suggest using a slightly lower temperature (194 F) for the first infusion and boiling for the subsequent ones, increasing steeping time for each subsequent infusion.
Water Temperature: 194 to 212°F
Leaf to Water Ratio: 1 tablespoon per 8 ounces
Steep Time: 3 minutes (1st infusion), 4-5 minutes (2+ infusions)
The finest Keemun is Burgundian in nature - full bodied, floral and highly aromatic. Takes milk well and is said to actually become more fragrant with it. One of the classic teas. Keemun is one of the essential ingredients in most English Breakfast blends though this quality and beyond are best enjoyed unblended.