July 27th, 2011

tea setting

Keemun Hao Ya A, or Keemun "Hell Yeah!" A, as I call it.

I'm starting to think I need a spreadsheet of all the teas I've sampled, since the number is growing and may someday match the number of perfumes I've tried on. The subject deserves equal written records of my reviews. In any case, here's today's:

I'm trying a new tea I ordered from Seattle's Perennial Tea Room, a China black called Keemun Hao Ya A. It's quite good, and has the unique and fascinating feature of smelling (and thus tasting, in a way) like the inside of Westminster Abbey. Or so my scent memory keeps insisting. You might not think a flavor of old, damp, historic stone, with a hint of candle smoke and beeswax sweetness, is something one would enjoy drinking, but then you'd be forgetting what an Anglophile I am. I tell you, I sip it, and I'm standing in a dim, high-arched forest of stone, gazing at the tomb of Queen Elizabeth I.

It's possible it also smells exactly like some ancient buildings in China, but having never been there, I can't answer to that. Or, it could be that all structures in the British Isles have been steeped in the scent of tea by now, given the importance and ubiquity of tea in British history. Still, this one does have a quality I haven't encountered before, wherein the warm, wet leaves enter the scent territory shared by warm, wet stone or even wet hair or fur (someone who didn't like this might find notes of "wet dog" in it)--yet, really, I swear, it's good! It's such an interesting flavor that I've even foregone the splash of milk I usually add to hot black tea, because I didn't want to dilute my Drinkable Westminster Abbey experience.