Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?


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Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby mextex12 » May 26th, '10, 16:36

I've just bought some (what I thought) reasonable quality Keemun, however it has a mild smokey taste (what I would associate with Lapsang souchong) and produces quite a weak brew, I steeped it for 5 minutes in boiling water. I've had no problems with this supllier in the past, and some Yunnan Gold I bought at the same time is superb. Any hints/advice on how to produce a good brew would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby entropyembrace » May 26th, '10, 19:17

make sure you´re using fully boiling water

also increase the leaf to water ratio and/or the brewing time to see if you can get more out of it.

there´s a few chinese black teas which taste better brewed quite a bit stronger that you would indian black tea or even some other chinese teas.
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby Chip » May 26th, '10, 19:40

mextex12 wrote: I steeped it for 5 minutes in boiling water.

I am assuming you poured boiling water over the leaf and did not put the leaf into continually boiling water?
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby shah82 » May 27th, '10, 12:08

Beyond the boiling water part...

1) Some gift grade keemums are supposed to be pretty delicate and lightly smokey. You might just not like that. There are stronger Keemums around. Some keemums are definitly of the "drink money" type and they'd only be pleasing and inoffensive. You can vary brewing by deliberately under or over brewing it to create unbalanced flavors that leave more of an impression.

2) Think a bigger thing when it occurs for brewing is the vessel. Make sure it's a good pot that retains heat really well.

3) Some teas do need 6-8 minutes of brew times, but this is unusual. If I had my druthers, I'd say you got this from Uptons, and following Upton's terrible brewing suggestions. Systematically brew the tea, starting with 1m and brew again in 30s increments until you hit the sweet spot. It's definitly possible that you're overbrewing to blandness (some teas turn bland instead of bitter).
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby mextex12 » May 27th, '10, 15:53

Well thanks for the suggestions, I tried steeping the tea for longer, 6 mins, used a little more tea than I would usually and had it constantly boiling - it was much the same, a weak smokey tasting brewy, earthy but without the sweetness you get with an Assam.

As I said I got this from quite a reputable suplier, a Chinese food and tea stall at an outdoor market in Manchester, UK. There were several big sacks of Chinese teas, this Keemun, several Lapsang Souchongs (which I avoided) and a beautiful Yunnan Gold which is spectacular.

Shah82 are you suggesting that I brew the tea for a minute, remove the leaves, let it cool, boil the tea, brew for 30 seconds and so on and so on? I'm a little confused. Cheers.
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby Poohblah » May 27th, '10, 23:07

mextex12 wrote:Shah82 are you suggesting that I brew the tea for a minute, remove the leaves, let it cool, boil the tea, brew for 30 seconds and so on and so on? I'm a little confused. Cheers.
No, try brewing for a minute first. Drink it. If it's not strong or the balance of flavors isn't right, start over. This time brew for 1m30s. Taste. If it's not good, start over, brew for 2m. Etc.
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby TeaPurist » Jun 14th, '10, 12:15

I'm ashamed of you all! Keemun is supposed to have a slight smoky taste! That is considered a desirable feature, not something you'd want to suppress! Please try to enjoy it for what it is; else switch to something less flavorful, if that is what you crave.
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby Chip » Jun 14th, '10, 12:52

TeaPurist wrote:I'm ashamed of you all! Keemun is supposed to have a slight smoky taste! That is considered a desirable feature, not something you'd want to suppress! Please try to enjoy it for what it is; else switch to something less flavorful, if that is what you crave.

Welcome to the forum.

Um, not exactly true. A very good keemun may have cocoa, to nutty, to floral notes, etc.

Often smokiness is a cover up to a tea with less going for it.
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 14th, '10, 14:18

I enjoy smoky teas like Lapsang Souchong and smoky sheng puerh...I also drink a lot of keemun from several vendors...

and I´ve never tasted a keemun that I would describe as smoky...even I keep hearing other people describing it as being smoky.

I´d use terms like sweet, dried fruit, chocolate, floral and honey...

I´m seriously wondering sometimes if I´m drinking the same keemun as some others, because to me keemun has always been a rich, naturally sweet tea.
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby Chip » Jun 14th, '10, 14:25

+1 ...

Keemun would never have been my fave black if I was drinking smokey Keemun. I did have a few smokey ones, but they were lower grades.
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Re: Smokey/weak tasting Keemun?

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 14th, '10, 14:30

Chip wrote:+1 ...

Keemun would never have been my fave black if I was drinking smokey Keemun. I did have a few smokey ones, but they were lower grades.


I´m glad I´m not the only one :lol:
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