Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tea Review: Keemun Panda #1 (Metropolitan Tea Company)

Organic Keemun Panda #1
Metropolitan Tea Company
Type: Black
Origin: China, Anhui Province
Product Description:  Of all the China black teas available Keemun Panda #1 is probably one of the best known. Keemun is one of the congou-type teas; meaning it requires a great deal of gongfu, (disciplined skill) to make into fine taut strips without breaking the leaves. Interestingly the characters in the written Chinese script for time and labor are the same as those used for ‘gongfu’. It is often said that a properly produced Keemun such as Panda #1 is on of the finest teas in the world with a complex aromatic and penetrating character often compared to burgundy wines. Traditionally keemuns were used in English Breakfast tea.

Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have a complex aroma of hay, pepper, smoky cask, and something salty-marine.

The infusion is orange-bronze with a smoky. honey aroma.  The flavor is savory with smoky marine notes and is mildly astringent with a smooth finish.

I picked up marine notes by the third steeping after I had left the tea to cool.  The second steeping brought out honey in the aroma that I might have otherwise missed.  Keemun is one of the traditional ingredients in English Breakfast blends and takes milk well, so I  also steeped the leaves for 5 minutes and added a splash of milk with a small amount of sugar.  The flavor and aroma notes are still present and seem to be enhanced, making this a nice offering for guests who prefer their tea with milk and sugar.  For those like myself who prefer tea with no additions, I found that a shorter steeping time of 3 minutes produced desirable results.

This was tea was provided as part of a workshop.

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