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2020 Keemun / Qimen MaoFeng Grade A Hongcha / Red Tea (100g)

2020 Keemun / Qimen MaoFeng Grade A Hongcha / Red Tea (100g)

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9th December, 2020

This high grade Keemun MaoFeng is sourced directly from a producer in Anhui, and has vastly surpassed all of my expectations! I really enjoy the flavor of Keemun (Qimen) hongcha and up to now, I've only had the very highest grade of organic Keemun or a standard, daily drinker grade from a local HK vendor. At this price point, I didn't know how good this tea would be, since it's significantly cheaper than the much fancier grade I tried (and more expensive than the very economical HK-sourced grade). Well, it turns out this grade is much better than the price would indicate, and I'm very happy I chose to try this producer's Qimen Maofeng! I have another (slightly cheaper) grade from this producer that I will also offer soon.

The MaoFeng name indicates the leaves look like mountain peaks and have lots of fine hairs. Both are true in this case. The aroma from this tea is very complex, and my initial impression of the aroma from the bag is that this tea smells like high-grade chocolate. Once the leaves are put into a warmed gaiwan, I get clear malted barley aromatics, with some orange blossom honey that follows right behind the barley aromatics. I've had malt from hongcha before, but never anything quite like this! I noted that it smelled like Milo and honey (and as soon as I got home, I had to have me a cup of Milo). The producer calls this particular grade 'honey aroma,' and the name certainly fits.

There are also aromatics here that I find remind me of a good zhengshan xiaozhong or jinjunmei, which is certainly high praise for this much more economical Anhui-grown tea. Keemun / Qimen teas were produced to meet demand for Fujian hongcha for Western buyers, and this tea definitely performs admirably and comparably.

I brewed with a fairly low ratio in my larger Bodhidharma gaiwan (offered on the site). I kept the lid off to keep the tea cool. A long first steep brought out some pleasant and balanced bitterness. I found the tea to be calming and relaxing, and it took my headache away. I noted a fruit note that I couldn't quite put a name to, so I now have an excuse to drink more of this tea to see if I can figure out which fruit it is! The barley was dominant and the honey aromatics less so in the cup in the first infusion.

In the second and third infusions, the liquor gets progressively sweeter and the floral aromatics take over. The bitterness recedes and some delicate and balanced huigan also makes itself known. This tea could have gone more than three infusions, but since this was a late night / early morning session while at the warehouse, I cut out after infusion three.

This is a lovely tea for the money, and I think many of you will agree if you try this tea. I'm not the biggest hongcha drinker, but I like this tea enough that I'm going to have to work it into my regular rotation. I'm also now interested in the higher grades from this producer. While not certified organic, this tea does meet PRC pesticide and heavy metal standards, and is much more economical than the certified organic top grade version i preciously offered.

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