Imperial Keemun

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Smoke, Chocolate, Earth, Lychee, Pine, Stonefruit, Wood
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Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by ZachMangan
Average preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 12 oz / 366 ml

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From Steepster

The Burgundy of tea, Keemun is considered by many to be the finest black tea produced in China. Grown in the Huangshan mountain range, this black tea is soft and approachable while incredibly complex: a marriage of floral, fruity, smoky, and mineral flavors.
Anhui, China

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17 Tasting Notes

1737 tasting notes

I found this tea to be rather smoky—reminiscent even of Lapsang Souchong. Or perhaps closer to Russian Caravan? It was okay. Not so imperial to me.

Flavors: Smoke

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592 tasting notes

Okay, so I have a bunch of teas, old favorites and new discoveries alike, that I didn’t log in the past five days or so, but I’ll just add tasting notes for the new teas that I tried. I pulled this new tea from the T&C TTB with no expectations really. It just sounded like something I wanted to try out. As it was steeping, I started smelling the smokiness of the tea, which excited and worried me at the same time.

As it turns out, I was right to be excited. The smokiness was well matched by the boldness of the black tea. Plus, it was not the tobacco type of smoky that I don’t care for. It kind of reminded me of when I was up in a cabin in Tahoe with the pine trees, fresh snow, and general foresty nature smells all around me. For that reason, I think this was the perfect winter tea for me. Unfortunately, there was only one serving since it was from a Steepster Select box originally. I did save the leaves and resteep the next day, though, and it was still wonderful. A big thumbs up for this one in my book!

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188 tasting notes

Everything you want in a good red tea. Subtle flavors, nice aromas, good mouth feel and great energy.

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61 tasting notes

(1st steep: 4 min) My first thought with this tea is that it is a subtler Lapsang Souchong. There is a definite smokey armoa and flavor to it, but not as strong as I have come to expect from Lapsang Souchong. There is a slight pine resin flavor to it as well. It finishes with a slight earthiness that I would expect from a pu-erh. However, since I am fighting a cold and needed something a little stronger this morning, this tea is a good choice. Hopefully, it holds up over a couple more re-steepings.
(2nd steep: 4 min 30 sec) Surprisingly, the tea has all of the same aromas as the first steeping. A good bit of the smoke flavor has disappeared from the the tea, but has been replaced by a subtle chocolate flavor. The earthiness overpowers the pine resin as well. I have a feeling this tea will become more complex as I continue steeping it.
(3rd steep: 5 min) Much of the original smoke aroma is now gone. However, there is a still a nice earthy aroma present in the tea. It reminds me of many of the black teas that I enjoy. I don’t have a better description than that. A surprising change in the flavor is the addition of a slightly sweet stone fruit flavor. Something between lychee and peach. It blends well with the reduced flavors and adds a new layer to this tea. Something I forgot to mention but has been noticeable through all steepings is a lack of astringency. This tea allows the flavors to remain after the tea has been swallowed.

I would recommend this tea for a nice lazy Saturday or Sunday morning when you have time to sit and enjoy the multiple steepings. Great coffee substitute.

Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Lychee, Pine, Stonefruit

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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2816 tasting notes

Good morning Steepster!
I am so happy to be at home today, I can’t even tell you. My workplace is incredibly hostile to someone with a disability which is sad for me but maybe they’ll fire me soon and I can look for a nicer place to work. :(

This is one of the teas from the Steepster select box that came in while I was gone. Normally I’m not a big fan of keemuns as they can seem a bit harsh but I really like the cacao and pine notes of this, it reminds me a bit of an Imperial Bohea that I already have from Upton Tea. This is a nice one to sip on plain, it also is good with soymilk but doesn’t really need any additions.

All I want to do is stay at home all day and drink tea :)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Seconded. Throw in a book.


I’m so sorry to hear about your place of work – I’m sure you’ve already considered your options, but isn’t there someone to turn to for help in order to make it a more positive environment?


Anna, unfortunately the people who have been supportive are in a distant remote office and my boss is turning into a complete witch so she isn’t a very good resource.

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149 tasting notes

The dry leaf aroma is certainly piney and chocolate! As it brews I get quite a bit of smoke, but it isn’t really lapsang souchong smoke, more like a bar-b-q smoke, or mesquite. A tang to it. Maybe a hint of paprika or chili chocolate

Not a very big amount of tea in the packet, barely enough to make a pot. Leaf size didn’t look that impressive, but I think it might have gotten squashed in the packet.

Thanks DCS!

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4843 tasting notes


I agree with the part that says “marriage of floral, fruity, smoky and mineral flavors.” It’s a pleasant marriage of these flavors. I get more fruit and smoke than I do floral and mineral, but I do taste each of these qualities.

Smoke is prominent. The sweetness of the fruit reminds me of something between berries and plums. Together with the smoke, these fruity notes almost taste roasted, like they were grilled over a smoky charcoal grill.

Usually with a Keemun tea, it tastes either of smoke, or it tastes fruity and wine-like, but I’m finding that this Keemun is something in between these two. It’s strong, rich and smoky, but there are wine-like qualities to this too.

The floral notes are subdued and the mineral notes come through toward the finish.

A good Keemun.

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31 tasting notes

I would like to first admit that I have only started to familiarize myself with Keemun teas in the past month, so this is a new style for me and I haven’t decided if I like it yet. The other Keemun teas that I have tasted were all pleasant , one-note brews that I enjoyed, but I prefer slightly more complex teas with more depth and breadth of flavor. This Keemun was a nice tea, with some bitter chocolate notes and a faintly woody aroma, but that was it for me. A pleasant tea, but not one I would go to extreme lengths to find. 7/10

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452 tasting notes

This tea brews up dark red, and smells chocolatey. There is some chocolate in the first brew, but a lot more of a coppery taste with a hint of additional metallic/bitterness at the tip of my tongue. If there was more in the package, I’d experiment with shorter steeping times for the first cup.

Flavors: Chocolate

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129 tasting notes

I like the smoky, woody, earthy taste…
I wish there had been a little more to the package;
I would liked to have over leafed it a bit.
A hint of cacao which would be enhanced by a Padron Londres…
“Flowery” got me to wishin’ ;-)

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