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This year’s first flush Darjeeling is a bit of a disappointment, so I have been revisiting other teas. One of my favorite Chinese black teas are the Keemun teas. They come with a hint of smoke and honey and are ideal afternoon teas. One commonly finds the Mao Feng and the more expensive Hao Ya teas. The leaves are short(cut) and coal black.

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In recent years, there have been interesting experiments. For instance, there is now a Keemun Snail tea with beautiful wiry leaves made from the first buds, with some golden tips. The taste is more subtle than that of a regular Keemun. I got my 2 ounce tin from Harney.

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Even mellower but also more complex is the Keemun Golden Tip Mao Feng which I found at Imperial Teas. It does not look like a Keemun anymore. In addition to the keemunesque smokiness, there are hints of chocolate. Very addictive.

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After brewing, the leaves of the two teas are almost indistinguishable. I wonder what the two signs mean.

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