Purchased a sample for myself. Brewed with a porcelain gaiwan. No rinse. Steeping times: 20, 10, 20, 40; 1 minute, 5.
NOTE: The website’s recommended temperature is 195. I suggest 190 if your kettle doesn’t have 195. 200 burns the leaf and produces bitterness.
The dry leaf has an unexpected aroma of smoke and what I identify as pine wood and sap. The familiar minghong aroma arises when the leaf has warmed in the pre-heated gaiwan. Individually, the heated aroma has notes of chocolate, baked bread, and salt. Altogether, I thought I was smelling chocolate-covered pretzels. Finally, the wet leaf smells like a keemun: honey and molasses. It’s worthy to note that the liquor, too, is fragrant. A molasses/chocolate fragrance sticks to the gaiwan lid and the cup.
The liquor has a fiery yet deep orange color, a full body, and a smooth and thick texture. The first infusion mostly tastes of molasses, a lovely sweetness. Infusions two through four – the most enjoyable – also have the molasses note, but wood and something like myrrh and patchouli also make their way in. Wonderful complex cups. There is also a brief chocolate aftertaste during this part of the session, but it disappears towards the tail-end. The fifth and sixth infusions – long steeps – are a bit of a long shot trying to keep this keemun going and to eek out last flavors. They mostly taste of pine wood, with just some honey sweetness.
Not truly for me, but I did enjoy certain aspects of the aroma and taste. A good quality keemun.