I bought this tea as one of the "famous" teas I wanted to try on our last trip to the Chengdu Tea Culture Street. I bought it along with a Dian Cong to give them both a try. We bought 500 grams of this Qimen tea and 250 grams of the Dian Cong since I already had the Yunnan Golden Tips, I figured they would be about the same.
I retrieved the following information from the internet:
The Processing of Black Tea
The processing of black tea requires a full oxidation of the leaves. After the leaves are plucked, they are laid out to wither for about 8 to 24 hours. This lets most of the water evaporate.
Then the leaves are rolled in order to crack up the surface so that oxygen will react with the enzymes and begin the oxidation process. The leaves are left to completely oxidize, thus turning the leaves to a deep black color. After that, a final drying takes place. From there, it goes off to be sorted, graded, and packaged.
Keemun black tea (Qi Men Black tea), is 0ne of the most famous black tea in the world, also called Qi Men Gong Fu or Qi Men Oolong. Be assessed as the chempion of rea tea in the world match of tea in Panama in 1915.
Keemun blacktea has been praised as 'one of the best three high aroma teas in the world and the 'the queen of fragrance'. This one is the special grade of super high quality. The rich brown liquor with a slightly scented flavour and the bright amber infusion has an appetizing honeyed sweet aroma while the taste is wonderfully smooth and with a light hint of floral aftertaste win its distinctive name 'Keemun Flavor'. Also, because of its subtle and complex nature, it is considered as the'burgundy of teas'.
This particular tea is supposed to be the "mother" or "father" of most of the tea sold throughout the world.
Black Keemun tea has its place amongst the ten best known Chinese teas despite its relatively short history. It has been produced in the district of Qimen in the prefectship of Huangshan Shi in the An Hui province since 1875, where formerly only green tea was produced. “Keemun” is an English transcription of the Chinese “Qimen” from the colonial era, and it is rightly considered the “champagne amongst black teas”. Its taste is distinctly suggestive, fruity with a hint of grape, with a woody base, generally unrivalled and may be very subjective. Its aroma is sometimes compared to the scent of orchids or roses, it is floral to fruity with a flavour of coniferous wood plants (similar to Lapsang Souchong). Black (or more accurately red) Keemun tea, as one of a range of Chinese teas, won an award at the international Panama-pacific exhibition in 1915. The production procedures for this tea are fully in accordance with the strict norms of USDA/NOP-Final Rule for the production of organic foodstuffs.
The Qimen tea leaves are black and very similar to the Yunnan Golden Tips. The Dian Cong (Dian actually means Yunnan) I bought was almost exactly the same as the Yunnan Gold Tips I have already been drinking. The main difference was the amount of golden leaves in the mixture. The Yunnan Golden Tips tea had almost 100% golden leaves while the Dian Cong tea was about 40% to 50% golden leaves. These Qimen leaves are almost all black with an occasion goldish leaf.
Here you can see the Qimen tea leaves that I used to get six solid infusions from. I probably could have gotten a couple more, but I was in a hurry to get this on this blog.
The first infusion was lighter than the second and it contained all the flavors mentioned above in the internet write-up. It had hints of the American Lipton tea but a level one hundred times better. It was strong and flavorful without being astringent but I never did get any hints of what I would call floral. This is nothing like Puerh floral and, IMHO, does not match the Yunnan Golden Tips in flavor or in the subtle nuances of the great teas I have been drinking. I think this tea would handle any amount of milk or sugar one wanted to throw at it. It is solid and strong with a mild front taste and a lingering but not overpoweringly strong aftertaste. I can see why people add stuff like flowers and things to it. The flavor is not overly abundant but honest and smooth all the way through from teeth to throat. Solid seems to be the term that keeps coming to my mind.
I let the second infusion go for about three minutes and it came out darker and even more subtle with its flavors. This is a great tea if one likes the taste of "Western-style" tea. It tastes exactly like a more expensive and more powerful tea from a Lipton tea bag. Same flavor but more pronounced and much more genuine. Maybe I have drunk too many cups of Chinese tea, because this is not my favorite. I understand its strengths and why it is the "mother of all Western teas," but still I prefer the Yunnan Golden Tip black tea. To me the Golden Tip tea is almost chocolaty in its flavor whereas this is just tea flavored. It was, however, well worth the trip to Chengdu and I think Sunee will put some honey in it to get the black tea benefits. An experience well worth repeating now again.
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