China Black - Keemun


 16 Jun, 2009 |  Written by Anupa Mueller

Not too many people think of a Keemun when thinking of a black tea. The obvious teas that come to mind are Assam, Darjeeling or Breakfast. But China makes some memorable black teas. While at the tearoom today, a customer specifically requested Grand Keemun - pictured here. Not too many people know that Keemun is the original English Breakfast tea. It is one of the 2 best known black teas from China – the other being Yunnan. Traditional Keemuns come from Qimen county in Anhui province in southeastern China. “Keemun” was the colonial spelling of “Qimen”.

Keemuns can have different flavor undertones ranging from pine to floral to smokey. The leaf style varies from short to curly and even needle-like. The well-known varieties are Mao-Feng and Hao Ya (‘tippy bud’). The fine twisted leaf style of Hao Ya is distinctive. Keemuns can be enjoyed with or without milk. Although the leaf style of this tea is plain, make no mistake, it is full of flavor with a natural slight undertone of smokiness. So the next time you feel like a full-bodied black, skip the House Breakfast and ask for a Keemun!

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