Qimen Caixia (Sunrise Keemun) Organic Black Tea 2013

Qimen Caixia (Sunrise Keemun) Organic Black Tea 2013


Qimen is a hilly and forested county in eastern China’s Anhui province where black tea has been produced for just over one hundred years. The most famous story of Qimen black tea’s origin regards Mr. Yu Gan Chen, a retired official who returned to Qimen from service in Fujian, where he witnessed black tea’s popularity as an export commodity. Mr. Yu brought the style back with him, establishing black tea manufacturing in his home county as an innovative way to bring wealth to the local economy.

The local tea bush cultivar is known for having especially small leaves (xiao zhu ye zhong). The dry leaves of black tea made from this bush appear dense and tightly curled but when infused they reveal themselves to be soft and tender, yielding an aroma that is both is subtle and persistent. Their flavor lacks the tannic heaviness of other black tea, instead its infusion is refreshingly delicate with the clean complexity of light brown sugar.

Historically Qimen County’s black tea has used leaves that were picked after the middle of April and chopped them during processing. In the last decade qimen producers have started to use unbroken, early Spring leaf, like those typically reserved for high-end green tea. This new technique requires more skill but better result.

Qimen Caixai is one such a tea. Its one bud and one leaf configuration poses a problem a problem to the tea crafter. Because the bud is made up of many layers of small leaves, the crafter must carefully control the conditions of oxidation so that every layer of leaf is fully and evenly oxidized. When oxidation is well controlled, the tea will not sour, rather it will develop the sweetness and complex flowery aroma exemplified by Qimen Caixia.

Qimen Caixia’s namesake is its color - deep cinnabar, radiant as the sky at sunrise.  Appropriately enough, it makes for an excellent morning tea, freshening your mood with a beautiful aroma and a sweet flavor that sustains through multiple infusions.

Tea Origin: Anhui Province
Harvest Time: April
Brewing vessel: 12 oz glass, porcelain, or yixing pot
Brewing Guidelines: 3/4 Tbs (3g) of tea leaves. Boiling filtered water. 1st infusion at least 2 minutes.
Infusions: The leaves are good for 5 infusions.

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unbrewed qimen caixia organic black tea
qimen caixia cupping
leaf configuration
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