Pronounced “Kee-moon”, Keemun tea is produced in Qimen a county located in China's Anhui province. Keemun tea is derived from the name 'Qimen.' The English spelling "Keemun" has been used since the colonial era.
This is a fairly recent tea that didn't exist before 1875 as up until that time this region only produced green tea, which was not particularly well known either inside or outside of China. A former civil servant named Yu Ganchen had learned the secrets of black tea production in the Fujian province and brought this knowledge back to this region and shared it with the local tea farmers. The results greatly exceeded his expectations, and this newer variety of Chinese black tea quickly gained popularity in England where it is said to be a favorite of the Queen of England and other members of the Royal Family.
Of all the China black teas available Keemun Congou is probably one of the better known. Our Keemun Congou requires a great deal of “gongfu” or disciplined skill to make the taut strips without breaking the leaves. Many tea aficionados believe that a properly produced Keemun is one of the finest teas in the world with a complex aromatic and penetrating character often compared to burgundy wines. Two of the harder to find varieties of Keemun are Keemun Mao Feng and Keemun Hao Ya. Both are produced in very small quantities, making them more expensive but often well sought after by serious Keemun tea lovers.
Keemun Mao Feng is produced using only slightly twisted leaf buds and has a reputation for a very smooth flavor. Keemun Hao Ya is best known for its fine buds which feature prominent amounts of silver tips and this is generally considered the highest grade Keemun. .
A top grade Keemun black tea will have bright deeply dark leaves, which will be very slim and tight. Looser and coarser leaves generally are found in the lower the quality teas.
Keemun was not the first Chinese black tea to be produced nor exported, but it certainly gained a solid reputation in the West as one of China's best black teas. Generally speaking there are three prominent types of black teas that are believed to possess the most intense fragrance of all black teas worldwide – these would be Keemun black tea, followed by Darjeeling tea and Ceylon tea.
The aroma of our Keemun Congou is complex with fruity undertones and floral depth (although not as flowery as our Darjeeling tea) which creates a distinctively smooth, mellow and well balanced flavor with little to no astringency. This tea blends exceptionally well with fruits, herbs and nuts.
While some like to serve this with milk others prefer a slice of lemon and honey instead of sugar to sweeten. In China, Keemun is typically drunk straight without milk or sugar.
When brewed our Keemun Congou tea produces a bright reddish brown liquid.
Steep at 212° for 3-7 minutes.
All of our tea bags are made with unbleached tea filter paper. They are approximately 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" and have no strings or tags.
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Farmers maintain a written organic management plan.
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Tea was reportedly discovered in China around 2737 B.C. by The Emperor Chen Nung when a tea leaf fell into his bowl of hot water. This tradition of tea drinking became an integral part of society and was the preferred beverage for all walks of life; from monks and mandarins to the nomadic tribesmen who traded horses for bricks of tea. The Japanese may have transformed tea drinking into a sacred ceremony; however, the Chinese are credited with initiating the time honored ritual of offering a guest a cup of tea as a sign of hospitality.
Scented teas have been around for a long time and are produced according to ancestral recipes. Before the advent of essential oil extracts one of the easiest scents to duplicate was ‘Rose’. The plantations would literally cut the rose blossoms from the plants bordering fields and pathways and sprinkle these into the tea. The result was a delicate but finely flavored tea. Today the practice remains virtually the same, but essential oils are used to speed up the scenting process and freshly cut flowers are added to the tea for visual effects. The result is a delightfully attractive leaf accented with rose petals combined with the refreshing cleansing flavor of roses. The next time a guest drops by, why not offer a truly special cup of hospitality accented with the scent and petals of roses.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). We recommend adding milk and sugar (if this is to your taste), but if you prefer your tea ‘straight-up’ it is equally acceptable and enjoyable.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]
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