Keemun Quandry

It has been my practice on every Spring harvest trip to China to re-cup all the samples I acquired  before I depart for home. In the past, I have almost never had a change of heart from the original cupping to the final cupping. This year is the first time I have experienced a change of heart!



 When I re-cupped the Keemun samples I helped make I was torn between accepting them for what they are or rejecting them. Even though I like the teas produced and find them to be interesting, the old timer tea buyer in me tells me that these are NOT traditional Keemuns. These are teas that the new Chinese consumers want. And if you've never had a great traditionally produced Keemun, you would tend to agree and be happy with the new flavor profile.

 The trouble is that I KNOW what a traditional Keemun is supposed to be like.  And now I don't know what to do - accept and enjoy the elements of the teas for what they are or reject and keep trying to find a provider who is following the old traditions?

 I am really having a difficult time wrestling with this issue. I wish some of you out there can chime in and let me know what your thoughts are?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Roy, thank you for working tirelessly as a link between modern tea drinkers and the most exquisite experiences of Chinese teas. Thank you for the consideration, investments, and love that you put into your buying trips every year. You could be my father, and I have no business telling you what to do. As a customer and friend, I trust you. What values, lessons, or awarenesses would you like to share with us through this year's Keemuns?

Janine said...

Hey Roy, sorry I missed this before! Well I would say that if *you* really like the tea, bring it as a "new taste.* But in the meantime maybe the really important thing is to find a traditional that you approve of. What is the chance of doing that?

I have had a lot of delicious black tea from you, some of it "new" (like for example the non-smokey Lapsang and many other varieties of black/red tea). So you could make it also a mission to come up with a good traditional keemun, if possible

Anonymous said...

Roy continue to search for a traditional Keemun. If you choose to bring this one in label it as non traditional. Thanks for your work.

Anonymous said...

For me, taste is only part of my experience with tea - part of it is what I bring to the tea, and another part is the story of the tea. Please share great tasting tea and the stories that go along with it. Traditional or not.

Alarickc said...

I'd accept the Keemun for what it is and simply label it as non-traditional. Next year get more if we all love it as much as it seems we might and keep on the lookout for a traditional Keemun.

Anonymous said...

Roy, continue to search for the traditional Keemun, not least of all because you KNOW what one tastes like, and thus to preserve this as the gold standard before it is pushed aside for the non-traditional.
I like the suggestion to label the non-traditional as such. Thanks for all you do!