KEEMUN MAO FENG
Keemun is such a high quality tea, especially this Mao Feng grade that leaves no bitterness or unpleasantness while drinking it.
WHAT IS IT?
Hello and welcome to this month’s edition to Tea Tasters. This month we are looking at the very special Keemun Mao Feng. The Keenmun Mao Feng is one of the best black teas exported from China and has a favourable following here, in the west.
Keemun black tea definitely offers a niche within the tea drinking market. It’s a black tea that is robust and round enough to take milk but is delicate and has enough finesse to be drunk on its own.
WHERE IS IT FROM?
The Keemun Mao Feng originates from China however, it is additionally named after the place where it is produced, the Keemun County in the Anhui Province, China. The Anhui Province is the perfect area to grow strong, rich teas and the Keemun is definitely not an exception.
THE HISTORY OF KEEMUN MAO FENG
The Keemun has a very interesting history. In 1875 a government official from Anhui visited the next province along which was called Fujian and found a very interesting way of making black tea. When he returned to Anhui, he developed this new technique he’d learned about making black tea on an area that was predominantly famous for making green teas. And of course after this, the Keemun tea became very, very popular in China and in the rest of the world. Now it is used in teas as base blend (for example, our fantastic tasting English Breakfast), along with Assam teas and other teas from Sri Lanka.
THE GRADES OF KEEMUN
There are many different grades of Keemun tea that exist but there are five noticeable grades coming from China. Two of these noticeable five grades are definitely made using the full leaf length, the next is the Gongfu and lastly we have the Maofeng. However, as mentioned both of these, have a full leaf length.
Some of the leaf lengths are slightly longer and some of them are slightly tighter and more twisted. The Maofeng resembles more of the green tea that this area usually produces. So Maofeng Keemun is definitely a tighter, more attractive looking leaf. You could see that the Maofeng is made up of a definite fuller leaf and it’s actually quite an elaborate fair for the tea to get to this beautiful looking stage that you are looking at today.
The top tip and tea leaves are plucked and then resorted to find the absolute premium leaf from the bush to produce this absolutely fantastic looking tea. It is known as Maofeng or Fur Peak, which makes reference to some of the furry characteristics of this tea.
BREWING, SERVING AND TASTING YOUR TEA
What you’ll find with Keemun is you do need is use a little bit more than perhaps we might normally do on Tea Tasters. Try to get as much as you can on the spoon. Pour your hot water on and leave it slightly longer than we normally recommend. We suggest that you leave it for about four and a half minutes.
Keemun is such a good quality tea, especially this Maofeng grade that you’re not really going to get any bitterness or unpleasantness in drinking it. It’s going to be an absolute delight. If you are making a teapot we would advise that you put a good six heaped teaspoons in. This is slightly more than we might use suggest but definitely worth it when we look at the overall flavour profile when drinking it.
Top Tip: It’s always good to use an infuser basket inside your pot
After you have left you tea for a good four and a half minutes, it’s ready to serve. When you pour your tea you will notice the aroma and the colour that becomes really noticeable and this shows the high quality of the tea. The colour is striking, rich and ruby red and the aroma, well, it’s got a kind of chocolaty, velvety depth to it which makes it absolutely delicious. And take a look at the beautiful infused leaves. They’ve just plumped back up to life. They really are a sight to behold.
It’s deep, it’s got a slight smokiness in it and what you do tend to find with Keemun teas is they’re either kind of a little smoky, non-smoky or quite smoky. This one’s got just a very delicate hint to it and the liquor is absolutely fantastic. It’s got good clarity and it’s got a good depth. It’s nice and bright in the bowl. This is a really special tea
The taste is absolutely stunning. It’s got a nice creamy, woody, vanilla profile to it. It’s got what you might find or might call a maltiness that’s normally associated with Assam teas from India.
But this has got a very subtle maltiness to the base of it. That really is a gorgeous tea and you’re going to enjoy drinking that many, many times throughout a lovely, hot afternoon. This is a great tea to take on its own or it’s got enough body to use with a little bit of milk. The choice, as always, is completely yours.
KEEMUN MAO FENG VIDEO
Our master blender Mark talks us through the wonder of Keemun Mao Feng. Watch now >