Keemun Tea: All You Need to Know
Keemun Tea is arguably the most famous China Black Tea. However, while other Chinese varieties date back some 5,000 years, this one only came into existence during the late 19th Century. Indeed, to many, this makes it a relatively new brew!
So how, after only 150 years, has it become so popular?
In this article, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company will answer this question and many more. You will learn about “what is Keemun Tea?” and discover where it comes from.
You will explore its history and marvel at its incredible Black Tea Benefits. Finally, you will have the opportunity to view our expansive selection and pick your favourite!
What is Keemun Tea?
Keemun Tea (known as “Qimen” in China) is a Black Tea that originates from Qimen county, Anhui province. Its name derives from an archaic English spelling of the county from where it grows.
This region lies between the Yellow Mountains (also the home of Huang Shan Mao Feng Tea) and the Yangtze River. Here, the high elevation, low temperatures and high humidity, with frequent fog, contribute significantly to the quality of this Tea.
Such is the immense popularity of this remarkable beverage that neighbouring provinces have begun to mimic its production. In Hubei, for example, Tea producers recently started marketing a ‘Hubei Keemun’.
However, there is only one true type of this Tea, and it’s Anhui Keemun. Like Darjeeling Tea from the Darjeeling district of India, or Pu erh Tea from the Chinese Yunnan province, Keemun must come from Anhui to be ‘official’.
Connoisseurs often describe its taste as distinctively mellow with subtle smokey notes. However, seldom do two taste exactly the same. In fact, higher quality varieties, including many stocked by us, have slightly floral notes reminiscent of orchids.
Most will know that orchids are some of the most sought-after flowers in the world. Is it any real surprise, then, that this Tea shares a similar kind of popularity?
Keemun Tea History
According to legend, a Chinese Emperor discovered Green Tea in 2737 BCE. This beverage, in comparison, only dates back to 1875. Its story begins with one man named Yu Ganchen, a former Chinese civil servant.
Yu Ganchen had recently lost his job, and ultimately, his purpose in life. In his shame, he decided to make good of his unfortunate circumstances. He travelled to the Fujian province intending to uncover the secrets of Black Tea production.
His journey proved a tremendous success. And so, with his new-found sense of fulfilment, Yu Ganchen returned to his home in Qimen County, Anhui. During this period, Qimen and indeed the vast majority of Anhui province only produced Green Tea.
Yet Yu had other plans. He established three factories catered exclusively to Black Tea production. In time, his endeavours within the industry became remarkable and revolutionary.
Before long, this Tea took the market by storm. In 1913, it won the Gold prize at the International Exposition in Italy. Two years later, in 1915, it again won at the International Exposition held in Panama. During the latter half of the 20th Century, it received the gold prize at the 26th World Premium Food Product Contest held in Belgium in 1987.
As of the 21st Century, there is a new reason why this Tea is again winning the hearts of many: Keemun Tea benefits. According to the latest scientific research, Black Teas like this one may improve daily life in small yet significant ways. But how?
Keemun Tea Benefits
An estimated 78% of Tea drinkers choose Black Tea. A sizable part of that percentage is this very brew. But why, exactly? Taste has a significant role to play.
However, it’s also worth noting the incredible Keemun Tea benefits to be had from this delectable infusion. Although not quite as beneficial as Green Tea, this beverage can support a healthy and active lifestyle in a variety of ways.
This Tea, like most Black Teas, contains a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Two particularly special antioxidants found in it are theaflavin and thearubigin.
These constituents can combat free radicals in the body, which are the product of natural, though harmful, human oxidation. This process relates to the transference of oxygen around the body. However, when left unchecked, it can cause untold damage to one’s system.
When oxidation introduces free radicals, these unpaired electrons latch onto their healthy counterparts. This causes the healthy electrons to become unpaired electrons, also, and so the chain reaction continues. Ultimately, this can lead to increased risk of developing several chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.
The ability of this Tea to combat free radicals, on the other hand, slows down oxidation. This, in turn, reduces the risk of developing such conditions. It can improve cardiovascular health, enhance cognitive function, boost the metabolism of fat cells and support the immune system. It can even aid digestion and provide stress and anxiety relief.
Let’s now explore in greater depth.
Improved Energy Levels
This Tea contains high levels of caffeine (approx 40 milligrams), more so than White (15 milligrams), Oolong (35-37 milligrams) or Green Tea (30 milligrams).
Most will know already that caffeinated beverages such as Black Tea and Coffee help to get you out of bed in the morning. So, is it as simple as that with Keemun Tea benefits? Yes and no.
Caffeine functions by blocking adenosine, a neurotransmitter capable of relaxing the brain while making one feel tired. Blocking large quantities of adenosine to the brain has the opposite effect.
It makes one feel more energised and less sleepy. It may also increase blood adrenaline levels and even heighten brain activity of the neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine.
Because this Tea contains more caffeine than, say, Green Tea, its ability to block adenosine is significantly more efficient. For this reason, it makes for an excellent choice of beverage after a bad night’s sleep. It may even help you get over that unpleasant hangover!
After starting your day off with this Tea, it can also help you to improve your weight management. How? It boosts the metabolism of fat cells. But what does this mean, exactly? And how does it help you to fit back into your favourite pair of jeans?
Metabolization refers to the process that essentially converts the fuel in your food into energy. This goes on to power nearly everything we do. By boosting the metabolism of fat cells, the body can burn fat quicker and more efficiently. Ultimately, this means that periods of moderate exercise produce much better and perhaps far more noticeable results.
However, it’s essential to note that your morning cuppa’ won’t do all of the work for you. One must adhere to a healthy and active lifestyle to fully experience this benefit. In other words, this means jogs in the morning, salads for lunch, and avoiding fast food in the evening.
Can Keemun Tea Help Reduce the Risk of Cancer?
The antioxidant cocktail that is this beverage may, indeed, help to reduce the risk of cancer. However, research at this stage is preliminary. For this reason,
The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company do not endorse this Tea, or any Tea, for cancer. Nevertheless, we support ongoing research, which continues to look very promising.
A 2015 meta-analysis has suggested that drinking a cup of tea a day, no matter the type, can have a positive influence against cancerous cells. According to these preliminary studies, it can reduce the risk of developing cancer by 2%. Those who drank the most Tea, meanwhile, had up to a 21% lower chance of developing cancer compared to those who drank none.
Scientists now believe that these remarkable compounds found in Tea can afford protection against cancers of the lung, forestomach, oesophagus, duodenum, pancreas, liver, breast, colon and skin. At this stage, however, most research projects are animal-based. We await further studies on humans.
Type of Keemun Tea
We stock a wide range of these delicious beverages from Tea Bags to Keemun Loose Leaf Tea. We pack each one fresh to order, ensuring quality and consistency with every cuppa’ brewed. The choice is yours. Which one will it be? Buy Keemun Tea with us today.
Keemun Tea Bags
If your life is too busy to worry about Loose Leaf Tea, then this is the choice for you. It has the same great Keemun Tea taste as any other Loose Leaf but with added convenience. When brewed, it has a distinct woody aroma which transcends in flavour. It also has subtle malty undertones.
We’ve mentioned it already, but this fact cannot be overstated. Do you have to get to work early in the morning? Do you have only a few minutes to yourself before having to pick up the kids from school? Whatever you need to attend to, there will, regardless, be enough time for our very popular Keemun Tea Bags!
Keemun Tea Peony
This is one of our speciality infusions that continues to increase in popularity at a rapid rate. Casual drinkers and connoisseurs alike love Keemun Tea Peony because of its sweet, earthy, malty flavours. Despite its exceptional quality, this particular brew makes for a fantastic everyday Tea.
Keemun Peony, like the flower, is immensely sought-after. Why? When it comes to your morning cuppa’, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more delectable infusion.
Morning, afternoon or evening - the choice is yours. It suits a variety of palates and personal tastes.
Keemun Mao Feng Tea
This high-grade infusion is one of our most popular Black Teas. Period. It has long and slightly twisted leaves which, when brewed, boast a distinct winey taste with delicate fruity notes. Every sip of this Tea has a smoothness like no other. However, it is also notably full-bodied and suits those who like hearty cuppa’s.
High-grade Teas like Keemun Mao Feng Tea will never cease to please those you care about most. In some ways, it shows that you care about them, too. After all, what says togetherness more than sitting around a table with your favourite people, brew to hand?
Keemun Panda Tea
Our Keemun Panda No.1 Special Grade has nearly everything you need to know about it in its name. After all, we don’t call it “special” or “no.1” for no reason! This well-manufactured orthodox Loose leaves have a needle-like appearance. In cup, it’s bursting with character thanks to its flavoursome smoky and woody notes.
Did you know that Keemun Panda, like all Black Teas, can enhance cognitive function? This is according to new research published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”.
It stated that experts had conducted a study at the University of Singapore. The results determined that those who drank 2-3 cups of any Black Tea a day had a 55% lower chance of experiencing cognitive decline. Those who drank 6-10 cups, on the other hand, had a 63% lower chance.
Keemun 3 Monkey Tea
Like a fine wine, this infusion gets better with age. In fact, when stored sufficiently, it has a notably mellow flavour reminiscent of, you guessed it, wine! Delicate and soft, yet sweet and smoky, this Tea has it all. Why not relax with this creamy, indulgent brew after a long hard day at work?
Seriously, we can’t get enough of Keemun Tea benefits! Did you know, for example, that Keemun 3 Monkey Tea only contains two calories per serving? This makes it an excellent alternative to sugary beverages such as soft drinks. It also, ultimately, contributes significantly to improved weight management.
Keemun Hao Ya A
This is a particularly rare and unique Tea. In fact, such is its popularity that it seldom reaches markets outside of China! It grows at higher elevations than that of Hao Ya B (see below). This gives it a traditional and well-rounded character with nutty undertones. It suits the taste of many, including a few here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company!
As mentioned, Keemun Hao Ya A is so popular in China that sometimes it doesn’t get to us. Why not stock up while we have it? After all, it’s got to be good if it rarely makes it this far before being snatched up!
Keemun Hao Ya B
This Tea is only second to Hao Ya A (see above). Many, however, see it to be of better value. The leaf is small and neat. Its colour, meanwhile, is black with brown highlights. When brewed, it has notes similar to that of its higher-grown counterpart, with a slightly nutty character as its most distinguishable feature.
This will put a smile on your face: Keemun Hao Ya B can improve oral health. How? The answers come from a collaborative study conducted in conjunction with the College of Dentistry at the University of Iowa and the Institute of Odontology at Göteborg University in Sweden. The results showed that the polyphenolic compounds present in Black Tea could kill or suppress cavity-causing bacteria.
This beverage is as beautiful as the flower it’s named after. It consists of firmly rolled leaves which offer a delightful aroma likened to wild orchids. If this wasn’t enough to entice the palate, it also has a sweet flavour with notes reminiscent of honey, plum, pine and sesame. What more could you want from your morning cuppa’?
This is arguably the most prestigious Keemun Tea we stock. It does, however, share similarities with its counterparts when it comes to Keemun Tea benefits. Indeed, a compound called L-theanine in Keemun Tea orchid can prime the immune system for attacking invading bacteria, viruses and fungi. This is according to a study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, USA. The real question begs: why wouldn’t you want to drink it?