Thursday, April 26, 2012
I'm revisiting some long-overdue tasting notes from further back in the winter, several remaining samples from Teavivre that are too worthy to pass over. With thanks to the Teavivre team, I had an opportunity to try a different grade of this versatile black tea, as I had only previously tried a Keemun Hao Ya 'A' grade from my local tea shop. It never hurts to compare, n'est-ce pas?
Teavivre Premium Keemun Hao Ya - you can click to find more details on where/how to purchase.
My general impressions: this grade is more smoky than floral, the 'A' grade I've tried leans toward the floral. It's well-balanced, and it pairs well with strong sweet or spicy foods, which is why Keemun in general can be a go-to tea in many Asian restaurants. Doesn't really overpower, but is strong enough to taste without competing and can abate the heat of a chipotle bean burger if you were thus inclined.
I took the opportunity to use my Tovolo stick tea infuser (link non-affiliated) for a few small cups, and while it's not the method I'd recommend, the Tovolo wand is the perfect little gadget for the tea fanatic who likes a bit of style or who, like myself, might work in an office where clean-up is a higher priority than whether you're picking up the nuance of your loose-leaf tea. I purchased mine via Amazon, but you may have luck finding them in one of the larger brick-and-mortar chains. It's the size of a small egg, with the metal end piece unscrewing from the wand for placement of the leaves, then the wand with exposed leaves can be placed back into it's matching pedestal, which almost completely covers the "drip" end of the wand, hence it's practicality for places where you don't or can't drip. (And let's be honest - dripping is fun sometimes, right?)
It brews up very rich and dark. It's an ideal cold-weather brew, but can be just as fantastic in spring with an assortment of dainty pastries to usher in the blooms.
Recommended if: you like a strong tea, like smoky or orchid/floral notes but might not be bold enough to brave a pot of full-on Lapsang Suchong.
All in all, I'm not disappointed with Teavivre's Keemun Hao Ya, and with the reasonable shipping, it's worth looking into if you don't have the 'A' grade available at your local tea shoppe.
Stay tuned for more tasting notes!