Updated: Sep 24
I did not know red plum tea until today! Yes, a late discovery but a good one. This tea comes from Hangzhou, Zhejiang which is a province famous with its green teas including the well-known Long Jing tea.
Jiu Qu Mei is also known as “Long Jing (Dragon Well) Black Tea” and this is because it is made from the Long Jing tea cultivar. I was reading about the history of this tea on the Tea Guardian and found its story fascinating. In short, this tea was invented amid the 28th century by Fujian tea makers who sought refuge in Hangzhou during the Taiping Revolt. They had the know-how of making black teas. In contrast, Zhejiang tea farmers perceived black tea somehow inferior, which was invented to satisfy the requirements of ‘foreigners’.
The tea farmers called this tea after where they came from in Fujian the famous Jiu Qu River ( i.e. the River with Nine Bends ) in Wuyi.
I found other sources which suggested that this tea was invented in the 20th century. Tea Guardian suggests that this tea was not taken seriously until it was mentioned in a famous novel in 1995. I’d say it is still not super popular definitely, not as much as it deserves.
Type: Black Origin: Hangzhou, Zhejiang
Harvest time: 2019
Leaf colour: Tones of dark brown with some reddish edges and a few golden tips
Liquor colour: Amber Tea Aroma: Floral and honey Tea taste: Sweet with complex rose, honey, chocalate, and woody notes. Steeping: Place 3 g of tea leaves in a gaiwan/teapot. Add 100 ml water at about 90°C. Steep for 5 seconds and rinse the liquid out. Steep for 15 seconds. To each consecutive infusion add 10 seconds. You can infuse up to 4 times or until the taste is lost.
Shelf life: Two to three years