Qimen is an exquisite tea-producing district in Anhui Province in eastern China. With some of the most-famous terroir of all the tea manufacturing areas in China, Qimen is properly highly revered for its perfect location for growing and manufacturing both black and green tea.
(Note: ‘Qimen’ is how the name of the Province is generally spelled in English when reference is being made to the province, or as a geographical identifier; whereas ‘Keemun’ is the traditional marketplace spelling for the tea imported from that province).
The rolling hills of the region lead up to the foothills of the Huangshan – the Yellow Mountains of Anhui Province – beloved by poets, painters, philosophers, and tea enthusiasts. One of the first (and possibly the best known) of the early hong cha teas to leave China for the West as part of the historic China tea trade, Keemun Congou was arguably the ‘original’ English Breakfast Tea.
Although Keemun Congou is highly regarded as a self-drinking tea due to its clean, clear, and focused flavor, the various other Keemun manufactures are also worth of much attention by tea enthusiasts. Keemun Congou also plays an important role as the reliable backbone to a blended tea for traditionally-styled house blends such as Tea Trekker’s English Breakfast Black Tea where its distinctive flavor supplies that ‘just-right something’ for lovers of this blended tea.
Keemun Congou has a classic ‘raisin-y’ tea flavor, that is often referred to as ‘winey’. This tea has a soft fruity aroma that is distinctive and very intoxicating. The finish lingers for just a moment, long enough to encourage another sip. Its liquor offers clarity within its perfect, coppery-amber hue. While some consider Keemun teas to have a whisper of a smokey flavor, this is really just the native flavor of the cultivar grown in the region influenced by the local terroir and firing/drying technique. Though rarely seen outside of China, Keemun green tea has this inherent flavor as well, and this is the flavor that one should expect and want in a delicious Keemun tea whether black or green.
For tea enthusiasts who like to add a pinch of this and that to their black teas, Keemun Congou blends quite nicely with light-smoke Lapsang Souchong, fruity black teas such as Fenghuang Dan Cong or Panyang Congou Bai Lin.
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