drank Keemun Snail by Harney & Sons
1048 tasting notes

This was the last tea I finished in July, and to be honest, it did not do all that much for me. I’m something of a Keemun fan, but I do not go out of my way to try them very frequently since there are other black teas I enjoy more. This one, while pleasant in the early steeps, faded very quickly and revealed a harsh texture in the mouth that I did not enjoy.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes. I normally take black teas to at least the 5 minute mark in my gongfu sessions, but I did not do that with this one because I was not getting much out of it at 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of honey, chocolate, cedar, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I noted a stronger sweet potato aroma and a new aroma of butter. The first infusion then introduced a subtle plum scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered thin notes of cream, butter, cedar, and honey that were chased by subtle sweet potato notes. Subsequent infusions saw the chocolate presence grow stronger on the nose as new aromas of malt, cream, orange zest, and toast also showed themselves. The honey and sweet potato notes swelled in the mouth while new impressions of malt, orange zest, minerals, toast, and roasted almond appeared. Chocolate also belatedly revealed itself on the palate along with a very subtle plum presence. The swallow imparted some interesting herbal notes that reminded me of both camphor and tobacco. The final few infusions washed out very quickly, though I could pick up mineral, malt, cedar, and cream notes that were framed by some very vague, fleeting hints of honey and sweet potato.

As some of you may have guessed two of the things that I weight heavily in my reviews are texture and longevity. Initially, this tea had a very pleasant milky, creamy body, but that soon faded to reveal the kind of harsher, sharper, more mineral-laden mouthfeel that I would have expected and welcomed in a Wuyi oolong or black tea. Here, I did not find it all that enjoyable. Also, this tea faded fast. It was a mixed bag overall. The first third of the session or so was nice, but the remainder was not very satisfying. A few points above the 50% mark feels fair to me.

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Chocolate, Cream, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Plum, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Tobacco

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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