Russia Solohaul Tea Estate 'Keemun' Black Tea

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dates, Fig, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Smoke, Toast
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 oz / 236 ml

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From What-Cha

All Russian teas (except Adyghe tea) are grown within Krasnodar, located in south Russia on the black sea, to the east of Crimea. No chemicals are used in the production of Russian teas, which is possible due to the lack of insects which target tea plants. Also, tea leaves are left to mature longer on the plant than is traditionally done in tea production, which further contributes to the unique taste of Russian tea.

Solohaul tea estate – High mountain tea plantation producing exclusively hand-picked teas of all tea types.

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1 Tasting Note

1031 tasting notes

This was the other Russian black tea I ended up with a couple months ago. I received a free 10 gram sample of it with an order from What-Cha. I’m assuming Alistair chose to include this tea because my order was comprised exclusively of black teas from Georgia, Russia, and Azerbaijan. The tea was described as being a Russian approximation of a traditional Chinese Keemun.

I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion process. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in just shy of 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. At one point, I attempted a second infusion of 7 minutes, but was not thrilled with the results. I think it may have been necessary to start with either a 3-4 minute infusion in order to get a more flavorful second infusion out of this tea.

Prior to infusion, I noted that the dry tea leaves produced a mild smoky, malty aroma. After infusion, I noted gentle aromas of smoke, toast, malt, dark chocolate, and raisin emanating from the cup. In the mouth, dominant notes of smoke, toast, dark chocolate, malt, and cream were underscored by notes of honey, raisin, date, and fig. I was expecting more of a plum note from this tea (I tend to get plum aroma and/or flavor out of most Keemuns), but I did not pick it up in this tea.

This was not bad at all. I think it is probably best to approach this tea as a unique approximation of a Keemun rather than comparing it directly to traditional, authentic Chinese Keemuns. For the most part, this tea does a good job of approximating the smoky, fruity, chocolaty, and malty character of Keemun, though I felt that it failed to fully capture the depth of a truly exceptional Keemun. I think a lot of that is probably owing to differences in terroir. In the end, I would probably not choose this tea over an authentic Keemun, but I would still recommend it to anyone looking for a solid Russian black tea.

Flavors: Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dates, Fig, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Smoke, Toast

5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I was pretty impressed with the Russian selection I got the last time I ordered them from What-Cha. I can’t remember exactly which ones, but they had the same kinda cocoa notes I associate with the Chinese blacks. I was surprised with how thick they were in texture too. I do confess that I prefer the teas like the Golden Buds Alistair offers, though.

Daylon R Thomas

Keemum’s are also hit or miss for me, so I tend not to buy them as often even though they are Chinese.


Daylon, I have only had the two Russian black teas that I have reviewed, but I have to admit that I definitely prefer What-Cha’s Chinese, Azerbaijani, and Georgian blacks over them. With regard to Keemuns, I tend to like them, but do not make a point of drinking them all that often. When it comes to Chinese blacks, I tend to gravitate more toward Laoshan, Wuyi, and Yunnan black teas, so I drink those far more frequently.

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