Hao Ya is a variety of Keemun black produced in Anhui. It’s been a couple years since I sampled something that I knew came from Anhui, so this promises to be a nice change of pace. Keemun (祁门红茶), literally Qimen red tea, is a black tea revered as being one of China’s Ten Most Notable Teas (I can’t say for certain why which tea made it to that list, but it’s neat). Hao Ya is a Keemun that’s produced in May or June after Mao Feng is finished for the season. Hao Ya is often broken into two categories of refinement: “A” or high grade and “B” or medium grade.
In this case, I’m tasting a B grade Hao Ya from Harney & Sons (I wish I could keep introducing new vendors with every post but that’s not very sustainable unless I lived in NYC). Unbrewed, Hao Ya is a gorgeous black and grey twiney and gritty leaf. Brewed, Hao Ya has a faintly fruity Assam-like aroma and a crisp and fluffy texture. I have no idea where I came up with this crap, but for me Hao Ya gives the sensation of sailing on the Yellow River.