|China's Anhui Province - Home to
Chocolaty Flavored Keemun Teas
|China's Anhui province is home to their Keemun (pronounced chee-men) black
teas, one of the West's favorite teas for over a century because of their lightly
sweet and intriguing chocolate flavors, reminiscent of unsweetened cocoa, but
without the bitterness.
|No one is really sure why the
Chinese began producing black
teas in the first place, as they have produced and
drunk green teas for thousands of years. But the
Keemun family of black teas makes one glad they
The magnificent, scenic Huang Shan Mountains are
located in Anhui province and are home to Kee-
mun teas. Ancient pine trees grow amidst steep,
rocky peaks, and cold, clear mountain springs. The
moist environment of these beautiful mountains
produces a natural
phenomenon of swirl-
ing clouds and mist
known simply as "sea
|Near the Keemun tea growing region lies the village of Tunxi. Some
of the public buildings and houses in the village have been built in
the southern Anhui Huizhou vernaclar style, dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
A little bit of this history has been brought to the United States.
One of the original houses from the village of Tunxi was dismant-
led and then shipped to the U.S., where it was reconstructed
and put on display for the public at the Peabody Essex Museum
in Salem, Massachusetts.
The Keemun (spelled Qimen in the East) family of black teas
includes: Keemun Hao Ya, Keemun Hao Ya A and B, Keemun Mao Feng (or Keemun Hairpoint
Mao Feng), and Keemun Congou (or qihong
Keemun teas come from four different grow-
ing areas of Anhui province - Dorgzhi, Guichi,
Shitai, and Yixian, which are all located near
the city of Huang Shan, and the Huang Shan
The microclimate known as "sea of clouds,"
described above, provides a blanket of mois-
ture over these tea producing areas. Togeth-
er with the cool, clear mountain air, and plenty
of water from the mist and many small rivers
and mountain springs, provides the soil with
a unique combination of nutrients that help
the tea plants grow heartily.
Keemun teas are made from eight different types of tea bush,
but it's said that the best tea comes from leaves with a little red
vein running down the back.
The two highest grades of Keemun are Hao Ya A and Hao Ya B.
Most Hao Ya A and B comes from the spring plucking, with little
made from summer or fall flushes.
All of the Keemun teas have the intriguing chocolate flavor, making them some of the most
popular of China's black teas.
Keemun Mao Feng is grown near the town of Qimen (Keemun is an
older Western spelling), in an area of steep rolling flats between
the Yellow Mountains and the Yangtze River. Even though the hills
can get quite steep, they are small when compared to the massive
peaks of India's Darjeeling tea growing region.
Mao Feng is harvested in leafsets of two leaves and a bud, and is plucked during a few short
days at the end of April and May.
It is fairly rare to find because most tea makers skip over the short Mao Feng harvest, instead
saving their leaves for the Hao Ya harvest that starts just a few
days later, and runs much longer.
So, if by chance you run across it, scoop it up. With its lightly
sweet and chocolaty flavor, you'll be in for a real treat. Enjoy.
|What's the difference between traditional budset
white tea and new style white tea?
How much loose tea should I use for my 24
ounce travel mug?
China yellow teas - a close cousin to green
teas but with a special added step.
China black teas - a labor of love.
Which green teas are found in China?
Why are China's oolong or wulong teas so healthy?
How much tea should I use to make a gallon of iced tea?
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