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Finding a Black Tea that is “Just Right”

photo:www.flickr.com/photos/34053291@N05/4737020396/

Do you remember the tale of Goldilocks? How she broke into the unsuspecting Bears’ house, drank all their porridge and then took liberty with their beds?

Well, Goldilocks wasn’t the only one looking for a fit that was “just right.” In the 1800’s in China, there was a poor man named Yu Quianchen who lost his job as a civil worker. He always had a passion for tea, so he went on a quest to produce the best tea in China.

Before He Could Do That, He Had to Learn the Secrets of Black Tea

Yu Quianchen went to the Fujian Province, a region famous for its black teas. He learned secrets from the tea masters while serving as an apprentice. But Yu Quianchen yearned for more. You see, the problem was all the best locations for tea gardens were already taken in Fujian. So the journey began to find the perfect location for his tea garden.

The Mountains Were Too High and the Lakes Were Too Low

But what he found was a place in the hills that he thought was perfect. The hills were high enough that this tea tasted different than a Dragon Well, yet it was low enough to avoid all the complications that occur with mountain grown tea. This place was called Keemun, which was later changed to Qimen and the reason why the tea today is known as Keemun.

The Elevation Gives Keemun a Unique Flavor

However, it isn’t only the elevation. Keemun teas also go through an extra withering process and are oxidized twice as long as normal black teas. After they are rolled, the teas are placed into large bamboo baskets in a steam filled room.

Keemun’s are Known for Tasting Like Chocolate

The chocolate flavor is more of an unsweetened cocoa, with notes of peach and lilac. But Keemuns are surpsingly sweet for a black tea and have less astringency than it’s black tea cousin, Ceylon. It is this combination of chocolate and sweetness that have made the tea so popular.

Keemun’s Make Excellent Breakfast Teas

It is a full bodied tea that stands up remarkably well to milk and sugar, which is why people love it so much in the morning. So much so, the Colonial British decided to use it as one of their main ingredients in their classic “English Breakfast Tea.”

Summary

If you are looking for a classic black tea that can hold up to milk and sugar, you should try a Keemun. Like Goldilocks, you may find the tea is “just right.”

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