Saturday, September 19, 2009
Tea Tasting Saturday #38 - Keemun Hao Ya A
I must confess that this week's tea was actually tasted quite a few weeks ago, back at week #33. I somehow managed to confuse Huo Shan Huang Ya with Keemun Hao Ya A.
Ya, I sure did! So I went ahead and reviewed it back then so at least I would enjoy being one week ahead.
Category: Chinese Black Tea
Purveyor: Harney and Sons
Dry leaf appearance: Pencil shavings. Very dark black with a few coppery brown bits thrown in.
Wet leaf appearance: Little twiggy bits of tea leaf.
Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 180 degrees, 3 minutes. (So it was a tad too hot for the tea I *thought* I was drinking, a tad too cool for this one. It should have been 205-212 degrees steeped 4-5 minutes, but I don't like my tea boiling hot and super strong anyway, so I would probably make it similar to this again.)
Scent: The dry tea scent reminded me just a bit of that smoky Lapsang Souchong (which, have I mentioned, I am dreading tasting). The steeped tea also had a smoky/woodsy sort of scent.
Color: Bright coppery brown. (And I realize I'm really in danger of becoming such a tea nerd, but isn't it lovely how the afternoon sun makes this tea almost seem to glow? If you look at just the coppery part of the tea in my glass gaiwan, it looks almost like a sunset over the ocean!)
Flavor: I happen to like Keemuns and this one had a nice, full taste, no astringency, very nice mouth feel.
Additional notes: Michael Harney says that Ha Ya teas are separated into Ha Ya A, the next-best into Ha Ya B. "The grading system is an affectation adopted for the U.S. market; A and B grades don't exist in China." I'm glad I sampled an "A" and not a "B." Grade school habits die hard!
Next week's tea: Yunnan Black Tea