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The first step in establishing any great tea blend is a strong base tea – this is the foundation upon which all of the other ingredients are built and therefore must be very carefully selected. For the best base, we select from our range of single-estate tea leaves to ensure the highest quality and provenance at the outset.
You may have noticed that many Tea Palace blends use or incorporate Keemun black tea in the ingredients of the blend – our new Tea Palace Easter Blend is just one example. Keemun is frequently used as a base because it has some distinctive (and exceptional) qualities that make it an excellent partner to a wide and varied array of ingredients.
“Keemun is dark and beautiful, compliments sweet and spicy ingredients and has character enough to shine through regardless of other inclusions. Its strength is a major attraction, many other base types lose their distinctive attributes when
combined with strongly flavoured ingredients, but rarely so with Keemun.
It also has a wonderful affinity with chocolate, although the cocoa notes in pure Keemun can be understated, it really brings out the best in chocolate.
This is easy to find out by yourself – just brew a steaming hot cup of Keemun Mao Feng, take a piece of chocolate with a high cocoa percentage, take a sip, a nibble and breathe out. What can you taste?
In my opinion it is the absolute best way to enjoy chocolate.”
Chinese black tea only produced in Qimen County, Anhui province
Produced since approximately 1875 when black tea processing methods were introduced to the region
Created from a sub-variety of plant very similar to that used for Green Mao Feng – but subject to a different processing method
Well known types of Keemun black tea are Keemun Hao Ya and Keemun Mao Feng
Tightly rolled black leaves that are usually more open than curled
Floral aromas denote higher quality
Smoky aromas should not overpower all others; if so the leaves might be more suited to blending that to drink alone
Leaves should be pungent and fresh, not bland and dusty
To taste, the infusion should be strongly characteristic: usually towards either orchid or cocoa
Whilst it is often overlooked in favour of its famous cousins: Darjeeling and Assam; Keemun is a whole leaf superstar with innate characteristics that are easily enjoyed without any embellishments
Malty ∙ nutty ∙ smoky ∙ cocoa notes ∙ floral aromatic
Very stable black tea: which means that it can tolerate a variety of temperatures and steeping times without significantly affecting the resulting flavour
The characteristics of this tea are very strong meaning that they tend to be difficult to drown out with pungent flavours
The floral and cocoa notes present offer synergy with a wide number of ingredients
Particularly suited to slightly sweeter blends
Most flavours will work with Keemun in the correct proportions, and some really shine due to enhancing Keemun’s natural flavours
Best partners: cocoa, bergamot, coconut, nuts and rice, vanilla, coffee
Other ingredients: flowers, fruits, herbs, spices
After establishing a good knowledge of Keemun, the next step is combining it with other teas as bases in order to create even more complex cups. For example, Darjeeling is a popular choice to combine with Keemun as it enhances the floral elements in both. This can then be further enhanced with additional ingredients to bring out various flavour profiles.