Keemun black tea is a world-renowned beverage originating from Qimen County in the south of China’s Anhui province. This tea has a unique flavor profile with notes of stone fruit, cocoa, and a smoky aroma. Its popularity grew rapidly in the West since it was first produced in the late 19th century and is still used in many classic tea blends today. In this article, we’ll delve into the rich history of Keemun black tea and explore the various varieties of this beloved tea.
The Birthplace of Keemun
The town of Qimen, pronounced “Chee-mun,” is the birthplace of Keemun black tea, and it is grown in Guichi, Shitai, Dongzhi, and Yixian. The tea-growing region lies between the Yellow Mountains and the Yangtze River, making it a suitable location for growing this unique tea. Keemun black tea uses the same cultivar as the well-known Huangshan Maofeng green tea. However, Keemun black tea was first produced in 1875, using techniques adapted from Fujian province farmers.
The Flavor Profile of Keemun Black Tea
Keemun black tea undergoes a slow withering and oxidation process, yielding a more nuanced aroma and flavor. The tea’s floral notes come from a higher proportion of geraniol compared to other black teas. Among the many varieties of Keemun black tea, Keemun Mao Feng and Keemun Hao Ya are the most popular.
Keemun Mao Feng is harvested earlier than other varieties and is lighter and sweeter, with a delicate aroma. Keemun Hao Ya, on the other hand, is a high-grade variety that is stronger and contains mostly leaves. It is separated by quality into Hao Ya A and Hao Ya B categories for Western markets, with the former being slightly better than the latter.
Other Keemun black tea varieties include those specifically tailored for the Gongfu tea ceremony, known as Keemun Gongfu, or Congou. There is also Keemun Xin Ya, an early bud variety that is said to have less bitterness.
Discovering the World of Keemun Black Tea
Keemun black tea has a rich history and unique flavor profile, making it a favorite among tea enthusiasts worldwide. Its versatility in blends and varieties ensures that there is something for everyone’s taste. Whether you prefer the delicate and light Keemun Mao Feng or the stronger and more robust Keemun Hao Ya, Keemun black tea is sure to delight your senses with every sip. So why not explore the world of Keemun black tea today and discover your perfect cup?
Discover the Art of Brewing, Serving, and Tasting Keemun Tea
Keemun tea is a world-renowned beverage, highly praised for its complex, smoky, and fruity flavors. Brewing and serving this tea is an art that requires skill and attention to detail.
Brewing Keemun Tea using the Gongfu Method
The Gongfu method of brewing tea is a traditional Chinese technique that emphasizes the skill and attention of the brewer. It involves the use of a small teapot or a glass tea set that allows you to see the tea leaves uncurling and the colors developing. Follow these steps to brew Keemun tea using the Gongfu method:
- Preheat your glass tea set or teapot by filling it with hot water and letting it sit for a minute. Discard the water and dry the vessel.
- Place one heaped teaspoon of Keemun tea leaves in the glass tea set or teapot.
- Pour freshly boiled water over the tea leaves, covering them completely. For the first brew, let it steep for a minute.
- Pour the tea into small cups and admire its deep tan coppery color and smoky, plummy aroma.
- For subsequent brews, let the tea steep for longer, up to three minutes, to extract the fullness of the flavor.
Brewing Keemun Tea in a Conventional Teapot
If you don’t have a glass tea set or a small teapot, you can still brew Keemun tea using a conventional teapot. Follow these steps:
- Preheat the teapot by filling it with hot water and letting it sit for a minute. Discard the water and dry the teapot.
- Use six heaped teaspoons of Keemun tea leaves for a full teapot.
- Pour freshly boiled water over the tea leaves, covering them completely.
- Let the tea steep for three to four minutes, depending on your preference.
Serving and Tasting Keemun Tea
When serving Keemun tea, use small cups to fully appreciate its color and aroma. Remember to avoid water that has been boiled over and over again, as this can make the tea taste bitter. When tasting the tea, use a spoon and slurp it to get as much air into your mouth as possible. This helps to unlock the full flavor of the tea.
Keemun tea works well with milk, but adding milk can suppress some of its flavors. To fully appreciate the taste of Keemun tea, try it with and without milk.
Keemun tea is a true gem in the world of teas, worth savoring with every sip. Whether you’re using the Gongfu method or a conventional teapot, following these simple steps can help you extract the full potential of its flavors.
Exploring the Health Benefits of Keemun Tea
Keemun tea is a well-known variety of black tea that originated in China. Not only does it offer a distinct flavor and aroma, but it also has several potential health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways that Keemun tea can positively impact your health.
- Reduces Tiredness
The caffeine in Keemun tea can help stimulate the cerebral cortex, leading to sharper thinking and stronger memory. It can also help excrete lactic acid and other waste from the body, which can contribute to feelings of tiredness.
- Cools Inner
Heat During hot summer months, Keemun tea can help quench thirst and cool the body’s inner heat. This is due to the presence of polyphenols, sugars, amino acids, and pectin, which can stimulate the excretion of saliva and moisten the mouth. Additionally, caffeine can regulate body temperature and stimulate the liver to excrete excess body heat and waste, helping maintain physiological balance.
- Aids in Diuresis
The caffeine and aromatic substances in Keemun tea can improve liver blood flow, increase the glomerular filtration rate, dilate renal capillaries, and inhibit the re-absorption of water by renal tubules. These properties can increase urine output and aid in diuresis.
- Anti-inflammatory and Antimicrobial
Polyphenols in Keemun tea have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation. Research shows that regular consumption of Keemun tea can also benefit people who have been attacked by bacterial ralstonia and food poisoning. In some regions of China, people apply it to the skin to cure wounds, bedsores, or barbiers.
- Protects the Stomach
The fermentation and baking process that Keemun tea undergoes promotes the enzymatic oxidation of tea polyphenol and reduces the potential harm it may bring to people. Additionally, the oxide of tea polyphenol can aid in promoting digestion, caring for gastric mucosa, and curing ulcers. Adding brown sugar and milk can enhance these benefits.
Other potential health benefits of Keemun tea include preventing tooth decay, resisting aging, lowering blood sugar, anti-cancer and anti-radiation effects, and weight loss.