China’s Anhui Province – Home to Chocolaty Flavored Keemun Teas

China’s Anhui province is home to their Keemun (pronounced chee-men) black
teas, one of the West’s favorite teas for over a century because of their lightly
sweet and intriguing chocolate flavors, reminiscent of unsweetened cocoa, but
without the bitterness.
No one is really sure why
the Chinese began 
ing black teas in the first place, as they have
produced and drunk 
green teas for thou-
sands of years.  But the Keemun family of
black teas makes one glad they did.
The magnificent, scenic Huang Shan Moun-
tains are located in Anhui province and are
home to

Kee– mun teas.  Ancient pine trees
grow amidst steep, rocky peaks, and cold,
clear mountain springs. The moist environ-
ment of these beautiful mountains produces
a natural phenomenon of swirling clouds and
mist known simply as “sea of clouds.”
Near the Keemun tea growing region lies the

village of Tunxi.  Some of the public buildings and houses in the village have been built in the
southern Anhui Huizhou vernaclar style, dating back to the 
Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
A little bit of this history has been brought to the United States.
One of the original houses from the village of Tunxi was dismantled
and then shipped to the U.S., where it was reconstructed and put
on display for the public at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem,

The Keemun (spelled Qimen in the East) family of black teas in-
cludes:  Keemun Hao Ya, Keemun Hao Ya A and B, Keemun Mao Feng (or Keemun HairpointMao
Feng), and Keemun Congou (or qihong tea).

Keemun teas come from four different grow-
ing areas of Anhui province – Dorgzhi, Guichi,
Shitai, and Yixian, which are all located near
the city of Huang Shan, and the Huang Shan

The microclimate known as “sea of clouds,”
described above, provides a blanket of mois-
ture over these tea producing areas.  Togeth-
er with the cool, clear mountain air, and plenty
of water from the mist and many small rivers
and mountain springs, provides the soil with
a unique combination of nutrients that help
the tea plants grow heartily.

Keemun teas are made from eight different types of tea bush, but it’s said that the
best tea comes from leaves with a little red vein running down the back.

The two highest grades of Keemun are Hao Ya A and Hao
Ya B. Most Hao Ya A and B comes from the spring plucking,
with little made from summer or fall flushes.

All of the Keemun teas have the intriguing chocolate flavor,
making them some of the most popular of

China’s black teas.Keemun Mao Feng is grown near the town of Qimen (Keemun is an older Western
spelling), in an area of steep rolling flats between the Yellow Mountains and the
Yangtze River.  Even though the hills can get quite
steep, they are small when compared to the massive
peaks of India’s

Darjeeling tea growing region.Mao Feng is harvested in leafsets of two leaves and a bud, and is plucked during a few
short days at the end of April and May.

It is fairly rare to find because most tea makers skip over
the short Mao Feng harvest, instead saving their leaves for
the Hao Ya harvest that starts just a few days later, and
runs much longer.

So, if by chance you run across it, scoop it up.  With its
lightly sweet and chocolaty flavor, you’ll be in for a real treat.