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From The Republic of Tea

Produced in Anhui Province, China – the highest grade available. Small, dark leaves. Can be infused twice.

About The Republic of Tea View company

The Republic of Tea is a progressive and socially conscious business recognized for being the leading purveyor of more than 200 premium teas and herbs, ready-to-drink iced teas and more. Founded in 1992, The Republic of Tea sparked a tea revolution in America with the purpose of enriching people’s lives through the experience of premium teas and a Sip by Sip Rather Than Gulp by Gulp lifestyle.

3 Tasting Notes

1353 tasting notes

Gosh, I’m so behind on comment replies it’s not even funny! I’ll get to it eventually! I promise! I’ll try and get it done at some point this week. I’ll be home alone for the rest of the week, as Husband is on his way to the UK right now, so suddenly I’ve got a lot of time on my hands. (He’s going to the funeral of the friend whom we lost recently. Unfortunately there wasn’t time enough for me to get my new passport in time that I could go too. Yeah, in theory I could have got one of those temporary emergency ones that you can use for just the one trip, but you know what they cost? The same as a normal passport! Which is none too cheap to begin with. I’m not made of money! O.O So I’m staying home.)

This one also came from Auggy and that alone makes me very excited to try it. Apart from being my taste twin, Auggy is, in my opinion, the Keemun Expert, just like JacquelineM is the Vanilla Expert. I don’t know if either of them will agree with that label, but that’s one of the major things I associate the both of them with tea-wise and I consider them more experienced than me in these fields. So when Auggy shares a Keemun with me, I stand up straight and pay attention! (Or sit and learn at the feet of the master. Which ever you prefer.)

The aroma of the leaves seems fairly strong. It’s smoky, which is a good sign, and has something to it that reminds me of leather and tobacco. I don’t like tobacco or anything to do with it. I think it’s a filthy disgusting habit which makes the smoker reek to high heaven, and at work I’ve seen lungs blackened and with tumors the size of my fist, but the smell of the actual tobacco leaf when it is pure and not mixed with a myriad of other chemicals, that is nice. When I was little, my grandfather smoked a pipe, and I suppose the smell of the tobacco leaf reminds of that. So it’s more of an association thing, I suppose. It still reminds me of him even though I haven’t seen him with a pipe for 25 years.

After brewing isn’t the strongest I’ve ever met, but I am catching a whiff of grain down there as well as something both slightly smoky and slightly floral in just the right balance. Nice! Hold this thought!

The flavour makes up for the fact that the aroma isn’t very assertive. It’s got a lot of grainy body and there is also a pretty good caramel-y note to it, which is running through and under the entire flavour. It’s just there and I can’t really tell where it starts or ends, permeating everything with carameliness. I think this is the first time I’ve had a Keemun giving me that caramel note for absolutely sure and certain. I have heard tales of this beast, and I’ve had a tentative brush with it before, but it’s definitely here in this cup. Towards the bottom of the cup it’s a really strong note and the last, lukewarm mouthful is very sweet.

The whole thing is topped with that note again of slightly smoky and floral, although instead of being exactly balanced, it’s leaning more towards the smoky side of things. Getting this bit right is for me probably what makes or breaks a Keemun more than the body of the tea. There has to be some, obviously, but smoky versus floral is really the very most important thing for me to REALLY enjoy a Keemun.

All in all, this was a very smooth experience. Not a hint of anything rough or prickly about it. Not even the smoky note, which frankly seems a little bizarre, but is true all the same. I should have thought the very definition of smoky would include pricklyness in some form or another, but even so this does have a clear smoky note, and it isn’t prickly. I can’t puzzle that one out. It just is that way.

I think I like it.

I should have liked the aroma to be a little bit more assertive, and I’m thinking that’s probably something I can adjust with temperature and leaf measurements, so it’s a very small beauty flaw. Probably especially the former, I think. I wasn’t too quick about getting the kettle after it finished, see.

So is it the Perfect Keemun? No. And no amount of adjusting in brewing can make it so. Why not? Because I can’t go out and buy it!

And so, the hunt continues.

ETA: Turns out the aforementioned beauty flaw was definitely something to do with temperature. The kettle was only set to 70°C. DUH! Second steep, at proper temperature, went down a treat. :D


I enjoyed your discourse on Keemuns!


Turns out the aforementioned beauty flaw was definitely something to do with temperature. The kettle was only set to 70°C. DUH! Second steep, at proper temperature, went down a treat. :D

Autistic Goblin

I’m with you on the tobacco stuff. I can’t stand it. I’m glad the tea tasted good though :D


I remember when my Dad used to smoke a pipe…I loved the smell of it. Much better then the cigarettes. Smoky flavored tea…not sure if I would like that, but of course willing to check it out.


How funny – this one leans much more floral for me. Orchid all the way! (But I agree – it’s quite lovely!)


Bonnie, thank you. Finding the Perfect Keemun would be a lot easier if I hadn’t already worked out what I want it to taste like…

Helena, I know, right! I just don’t understand what makes people want to do that to themselves.

Lynxiegrl, when my grandfather smoked a pipe I was probably too young to form any opinion on it. It was just something that he did. I probably believed it had something to do with how to be a grandfather. :p Smoky tea is awesome, but then I’m biased. How do you feel about smoked food? Fish, for example? If you like that, do give the smoky tea a try as well.

Auggy, how odd! I’ll have to try it again and see. It may have something to do with it not really developing fully what iwth my kettle mishap. I’d forgotten to set the temperature, so it was made like a green tea. Hardly the best conditions. :p


I love smoked turkey and salmon. and I definitely want to try it out…I mean plenty of things I didn’t think I’d like I ended up loving. And other things that I thought I’d love, I detested! lol. So it is an adventure.


I imagine temp didn’t help. But hopefully at a black tea temp you’ll still like it! I find it super-pretty. Not quite oomph-y enough to take over as my favorite Keemun (CTG’s still has that) but I like it enough that I’ll probably buy it again!


I don’t think I’ve had it done properly yes. I had the second steep on the correct temperature, but wasn’t paying too much attention to it. Which indicates that it was good, because I think I would have noticed had it been thin. :)


Funnily enough, I’ve had this one a couple of times recently and picked up more smoky prickle. Still very orchid-y, but a bit more balanced. I kind of blame you for influencing my subconscious. ;)

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911 tasting notes

Hello Steepsterites! I know, I (and my massively long tasting notes) have been MIA lately. Shame on me! My absence has been due to a sad lack of new teas. As some of you might recall, a couple of years ago the husband and I paid off our house. Awesome, right? There’s only one downside. See, turns out we don’t like our neighborhood. And honestly, I’d really like a dining room and a bit more of a back yard. Which means we’ve been contemplating buying a new, slightly larger house. But with no current mortgage, you can bet we don’t want to buy a house in a way that saddles us with a new mortgage, right? Which means we’ll have to save up a fairly substantial amount of money. Which means the budgetary belt has been tightened. A lot. Which has really impeded my tea purchasing (especially since it has to fight my knitting obsession for my monthly discretionary spending). But my tea pantry has withered to a measly 68 teas and that’s just not on, so this month tea has defeated knitting in the battle for my money.

I’ve placed a couple of orders (with Le Palais des Thés and American Tea Room) but they haven’t come in yet, so I spend some time today meandering around my grocery store’s tea section and managed to I come across this little tea. I can’t say no to a good Keemun so I didn’t even try to fight it when it jumped into my buggy. (Seriously, it just jumped in there! No help from me at all!)

I really wasn’t expecting all that much from this (after all, I love CTG’s Keemun almost as much as I love my cats and this tea is being sold in a grocery store) but I am pleasantly surprised by it. It has an amazingly sweet and fruity smell to it. There’s a bit of that typical acrid/acidic-ish smoke edge that is common to Keemuns but the majority of the smell is a full slightly-earthy-but-mostly-floral/fruity scent. I want to say it is somewhat fig-like. (That could just be because I was contemplating the figs at the grocery store today but it also could be because it is actually figgy. I might have to get out some of my dad’s fig preserves for a more accurate comparison.)

The smell isn’t the only fruity/figgy/floral thing about this tea – the taste is, too. It’s very smooth (I got almost no smoke/acridity sharpness) and it’s quite soft and pretty. But as nifty as that is, it’s also a little disappointing. I mean, yeah, it’s neat to get that fruity/figgy/floral taste in a tea that, when done poorly, can be scratchy, acrid and rough, but that sweet, soft floral, etc is pretty much the entire taste. I find myself missing the earthier notes of leather and mustiness a bit.

Don’t get me wrong – I like this tea just how it is. The smoothness is quite nice but I would totally trade a bit of it for a tad more depth. Brewing for a bit longer might take care of that, but even if it doesn’t I won’t be too sad because this is very pretty. I mean, it’s not lovely enough to replace my CTG Keemun love. It’s also behind Adagio’s Anhui Keemu in all but price and I’m sure TeaSpring has at least one Keemun that could make this one cry for its mommy, but I believe this could claim a spot in my Top 5 Keemuns.

The second steep helps cement this opinion. The taste has a dash more depth – it’s still sweet and fruity/figgy/floral but has just a touch of texture to deepen the taste and give it a hint of almost bake-iness. The finish is still high, sweet and makes me think of the color of pink that is on inside of a fig (maybe that’s why I think it tastes figgy) but now with an added note of toasted sugar.

So yeah, totally impressive for a grocery store tea. Really good for a tea full stop, actually. Still not my favorite Keemun but definitely not one to be dismissed. I think I’ll enjoy drinking this one while I window shop (since that’s the only type of shopping I’ll be doing for the rest of this month).


My husband is always amazed at what jumps in the cart (all by itself, ya know) at the store – in particular, the tea section really wants to go home with me.


Nice to see you around again :) you have been missed!


mrawlins2 – It’s amazing hour athletic those inanimate objects can be! Vaulting straight into the cart like that!
Ninavampi – Thank you! Hopefully I’ll be around a bit more since I have lots of new teas to taste! :)


Genteel poverty builds character. At least that’s what I tell myself ;)


“Genteel poverty” – I love that! And yes, we are building character all over the place! Yay?


So…..it’s time for me to send you another goodie box soon TEEHEE!!!!


I may have a little care package soonishly as well. :)


TEB – You big tease! You know the thought of new teas gets me all happy! :P

Angrboda – I still owe you a package! It’s just been so long since I got new tea in that I know you haven’t had that I haven’t been able to send it yet. But I imagine American Tea Room will give me that chance! (Oh, and I totally bought Toffee of LPdT – and some other goodies I hope to send your way!)


That toffee is great! I’m counting it as equal to Kusmi caramel in the sweetie tea department. :)

Thomas Smith

Unfortunately Chicago Tea Garden is closing up shop :(
This sounds like a Hao Ya Keemun – how is the leaf expression of tips or silver/gold streaking? May be disappointing for the expectation of a typical Keemun but it sounds great for Grocery Store fodder.


Thomas – Yeah, I had several days of angst because of CTG’s closing. But I ordered a big batch of the Keemun and Tony told me where he got it so I feel secure that I shall never be without!
As for the leaf of this one, it’s got a fair number of ends that are not-quite-gold-but-more-very-light-tan. Much lighter overall than the typical grocery store Keemuns but not as peppered with gold as much as CTG’s version.

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41 tasting notes

Tasty tea, although the smoke hides many of the other elements of the tea. Full review: http://exm.nr/jmVitM

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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