Qimen Cai Xia
Origin: Qimen, Anhui, China
(Pronounced CHEE MUHN)
We find this tea among the brightest expressions of black tea. While many black teas can be thick, heavy, and warming, Qimen seems to feel almost as vibrant as a white tea, even with its notes of brown sugar and raspberry jam. It feels. . . buzzy.
This tea has a really cool history. It's something of a response to the British. When the British started growing their own tea in India, their goal was to make enough volume for all of England to be able to sip daily.
When the Chinese tea masters of the city of Qimen first discovered that the British were making a fully oxidized, heavily roasted tea, sort of in the style of an oolong tea, they went to work. They wanted to make a fully oxidized, heavily roasted tea that would be complex and patient enough for gongfu-style brewing. In this style, the tea is brewed back to back, many times. They combined patient oxidation with a high charcoal roast. Complexity without balance can be disorienting. Balance without complexity can be boring. Qimen offers a great balance of complexity and balance.
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