I got a chance to review this Chinese black tea from MastersTeas.com. It’s not what I would normally drink, and it’s much finer in quality than what I drink at Chinese restaurants, so it was a fun new experience.
From the website:
Qimen Caixia or “Sunrise Keemun” is a unique black tea made from early spring leaves which are gently rolled to create a whole leaf tea. The semi wiry leaves do contain some tips as well. The dry aroma offers the classic Keemun orchid note. The cup itself is a medium-light bodied one that is delicate, sweet and complex with notes of orchid, honey and toast. While it is rather delicate, it presents a nuanced experience with a soft finish.
About the leaves:
Grown between 800 and 1200 meters above sea level this Twig Leaf cultivar was hand plucked at the end of April from 60-year-old trees. Known locally as "keemun maofeng", is consists of one bud and two or three leaves approximately 2-3 cm in length.
This tea contains a high level of caffeine | Steep at 212° for 2-3 minutes.
The tea had a pleasant, slightly malty scent when opening the bag. I steeped 1 airy tablespoon in 500 mL 212°F water for 3 minutes.
It made a light colored black tea, but full of flavor. It had a slightly malty taste and a very soft and mellow mouth feel.
It tasted very smooth with a little milk, although the milk masked the flavor a bit so that it tasted a little watery.
With a Japanese cookie, it was tasty. Then I decided to try this (without milk) with salty food instead, and so I made another pot to drink this tea with my lunch, which was coq au vin, and it really complimented the savory food much better than with the cookie.
I think that this tea (without milk) would go well with spicy food, although I couldn’t test it because my stomach hasn’t been handling spicy foods very well lately. I definitely prefer this tea with savory foods rather than sweet. If I’d had some Chinese food in the fridge, I’d have tried that paired with this tea, because I think it would have gone well with it. And yet I could tell this was a much finer quality tea than what I drink in Chinese restaurants, so it would have been really nice to drink it with a Chinese dinner.
So, my impressions is that this is a good tea to drink with dinner or lunch. It’s a light tea, so it would go well with a lighter meal.