Keemuns are some China's most renowned black teas, since the British acquired a love for Keemuns. The teas come from the rolling hills in southeastern Anhui Province in China. After the MaoFeng is finished around the beginning of May, the Hao Yas are made. Hao Ya's are separated: the best tips become Hao Ya A and the next best tips become Hao Ya 'B'.
I balked at the price at first, but the description lured me into trying a sample, at least. I've been completely hooked on it, since. Smooth, flavorful, and just plain perfect! Also, the leaves can be steeped more than once without resulting in a bitter tea, meaning that it is not, actually, more costly than the less expensive teas, cup for cup. I tried both the A and B versions of this tea, and the A version is clearly more flavorful and worth the price. (Posted on 3/11/16)
Hao Ya 'A' has been my go to tea for several years now. I prefer China black to India black because it has less astringency and generally has great depth of complexity. The difference with the Hao Ya 'A' and 'B' is subtle but it is one of complexity. If you insist on milk and sugar I recommend that you go with the standard Keemun, which Harney now sells as English Breakfast, because these additives tend to subsume the flavor profile of the tea. Hao Ya 'A' has a lot going on. It is a rich flavor, hints of fruit, nice body and aroma. Really lovely tea. Highest recommendation. (Posted on 5/12/15)
There are not enough praises in the world for this tea; every time I come back to it, I find something new to love! Very forgiving to anything one throws at it, yet absolutely wonderful all on its own, in just about every circumstance. Hao Ya A is at once a powerful, flavorful brew, yet not a bracing one, and it is difficult to imagine a circumstance that would not welcome it. Try it - you WILL like it. (Posted on 1/26/15)
Smelling the dried leaves has a slight citrus rind aroma. After a 5 minute steep with boiling water, the tea has a deep red color, but clear, not cloudy. The taste has muted citrus rind and a slight floral flavor, but not overpowering. It also has a sweet quality to it. It has no bitterness at all. The leaves can be re-steeped a couple of times. (Posted on 1/24/15)
More than three years ago, my cousin gave me this tea as my New Year's gift. From the day I took my first sip to the very last, it became my all-time favorite tea. The tea has precisely that sweet aroma of cocoa and apricot. It has a nicely balanced flavor of dark cocoa (kind of like dark chocolate), and even a fruitiness going on that reminds me of plums and peaches. The aftertaste is like a floral honey. Elegant and refined. Strangely enough, I loved it so much I even ate the leaves after the last cupping! (and even they tasted great!) (Though I probably not recommend that last one). Anyway, it was truly an enlightening experience, especially since the tough economy when I had to wait nearly three years to finally get this delicious tea again. It was like seeing a not-so-old friend again after so many years. And that makes the experience even better. (Posted on 3/23/14)
This tea has a nice, dark color and a crisp, smoky aroma. The flavor is not bitter, not too dry and not very smoky at all, as I thought it would be from the aroma and my experience with other Keemun teas and blends such as English Breakfast. It is even less smoky than its nearly as delicious sibling, Hao Ya â€œBâ€. It has a very clean, crisp, fresh taste, very complex and sophisticated. This tea has a depth of character unlike any other tea I have tasted. This really is an excellent tea. It does not need cream or sugar to be fully appreciated, but I found that if you do use cream and sugar, both work better with this tea than either alone, but be cautious; you only need a very small amount of both to augment rather than overwhelm this teaâ€™s natural flavor, which just keeps getting better and better with every sip. Even the aftertaste is itself a unique and flavorful experience. I must admit, this tea has greatly improved my heretofore under-informed opinion of Keemun teas and may indeed have supplanted others as my tea of choice. I am delightfully surprised by how delicious this tea is and Iâ€™m already looking forward to my next cup and to sharing this tea with others! (Posted on 9/18/11)