On awaking this morning, I made my way to the kitchen for my customary cup of tea. Just the other day, a shipment of samples from Adagio Teas had arrived, and I was eager not only for some caffeine but for the aroma and luxurious flavor of Keemun. Keemun is a Chinese black tea, sometimes called "red tea", and as far as tea production goes, is a relative newcomer, having been introduced in the 19th century. It is typically noted for its rich, smoky aroma and for being used in many English breakfast blends.
The instructions for this particular tea stated to brew it for five minutes, which seemed a bit long. Tea when overbrewed tends to release too much tannic acid, creating a harsh and bitter beverage. But I gave Adagio the benefit of the doubt, and let the tea leaves brew in my little yixing teapot for the prescribed duration. The liquor that emerged was dark, nearly opaque (but that may be because I brew my tea too strong), and fragrant. It smelled of smoke, maybe a hint of tobacco, and some undertones of earth. I savored the aroma for a few minutes before adding a small amount of milk, which is the traditional English way of drinking this particular kind of tea.
The neat thing about Keemun is that when you add a little milk, the aroma takes on a new sort of character. It begins to smell very much like buttered toast. Try it, you'll see. It's a really pleasant smell for those who are fans of this particular tea. And now, finally, it was time for my first sip. Keemun Concerto is not a strongly-flavored tea, which makes it a nice introduction to the world of Keemuns, I suppose. I was able to pick out many of the same flavors I'd smelled before, and, surprisingly, the long steeping did not create any overwhelming tannins. In fact, this tea is remarkably smooth and soft on the palate, perhaps too subtle to be able to hold up to any added sugar, though I plan on trying that next. The smokey Keemun notes are probably the strongest elements of its flavor. If you would like to try out Keemun Concerto for yourself, please click on our affiliate link!