Keemun tea is a famous black tea also known as Qimen, the name of the county where it comes from. It has a relatively short history (was first produced in the late 19th century) against some other fine Chinese teas. It is particularly popular in the UK and the US and is an award-winning tea in the Panama World Expo of 1915. The tea is plucked in the spring and summer in the form of one bud and top two to three leaves and then they undergo a manual selection where different leaves are separated based on their tenderness to produce different grades.
All black teas go through a rough process off plucking the fresh leaves àwithering (or drying under the sun) àrolling & twisting àfermenting àdrying. Keemun’s withering takes considerably longer than other black teas. The fermentation of Keemun occurs in steam rooms through which the colour of the leaves turns from green to dark brown and black.
Some varieties of Keemun give a smoky aroma, however, I did not experience it with this variety. What I have noticed that the taste profile changes from one steeping to the other. You can steep this tea multiple times until you are satisfied.
Also, it is said that Keemun is Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite tea. But I could not find a reliable source to support this claim. Nevertheless, I can see why this tea could be a favourite for anyone.
Type: Black tea
Harvest time: 2019
Leave colour: Glossy black with golden brown tips
Liquor colour: Amber red
Tea aroma: Chocolate with fruity notes
Steeping/brewing: You can use 90-100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 3 years (to improve shelf life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, dark place with low temperatures)