The History of Keemun Black Tea

The name Keemun comes from Qimen County in the southern Anhui province of China, where almost all the mountains are covered with tea bushes. Qimen County produced only green tea until the mid-1870's.

About that time, a young man in the civil service lost his job. Despite being totally heartbroken and completely embarrassed by his shame, he remembered what his father told him: 'A skill is a better guarantor of a living than precarious officialdom'. Following this advice, the young man packed up his courage and his bags to travel to Fujian Province to learn the secrets of black tea manufacturing.

Upon his return to Qimen in 1875 he set up three factories to produce black tea. The black tea method was perfectly suited to the tea leaves produced in this warm moist climate with well-drained sandy soil. Before long, the superb flavor of Keemuns became very popular around the world.

Despite its relatively short history (for a Chinese tea!), Keemun became world renowned by 1915 and in taste tests conducted by the leading tea companies of the day, was preferred over Darjeeling! 1915 also marked another milestone in Imperial Keemun's storied history - it won gold at the International Exposition in Panama.

Keemun is often referred to as the ‘Bordeaux’ or ‘Burgundy’ of tea, with its rich wine-like notes. This tea has a thick rich liquor, an orchid like fragrance, enhanced with milk.

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