Keemun

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Keemun Tea or Qimen Tea is a mild black tea from Anhui Province in China, which is similar to Darjeeling teas. Anhui Province is well-known for its exceptionally beautiful landscape, e.g. the mountainous massif of Huang Shan has peaks that soar to 1,800 m (5,900 ft). Qimen County is located in an extension of Huang Shan mountains in the southwest of Anhui, south of the Yangzi River. Here, the average temperature is about 15oC (60oF) and annual rainfall is 1,700 mm (67 in). Keemun tea is grown with the Zhu Ye cultivar, which is traditionally grown from green teas.

Keemun tea is a fermented tea with a relatively large black leaf. Keemun has a sweetness and fragrance like Darjeeling, but more floral with hints of orchids and chocolate and also some woody notes.

A fine Keemun should be brewed lightly, and drunk on its own or with a little lemon. Keemun can be taken throughout the day, but because it is a classic British afternoon tea, accompany a decent cup of Keemun tea with cup cakes, Victoria sponge cakes or shortbread. Keemun's liquor is a dark orange, but it has a light and gentle taste.

Infusion

  • Quantity: 1 teaspoon (2½ g) per cup or person
  • Water temperature: 95oC (200oF)
  • Brew time: 4 - 5 minutes

Iced Tea Method

To make 1 quart / 1 liter pitcher:

  1. Quantity: 6 heaped teaspoons loose tea or 6 teabags into a teapot or pitcher.
  2. Water: 1¼ cups / 315 ml freshly boiled water.
  3. Infusion time: 5 minutes.
  4. Iced tea: Pour brewed tea into 1 quart / liter pitcher, straining tea or taking out teabags. Add ice and top up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.

To make individual serving:

  1. Quantity: 1 heaped teaspoons loose tea or 1 teabag into a teapot or mug.
  2. Water: 175 ml / 6 oz freshly boiled water.
  3. Infusion time: 5 minutes.
  4. Iced tea: Fill 12 oz / 375 ml cup with ice. Pour in brewed tea, straining tea or taking out teabags - not all tea will fit in. Garnish and sweeten to taste.

Rule of thumb: increase the strength of the tea compared to normal hot tea, because it will be diluted by the ice and cold water added.

Further Reading