Keemun Golden Needle is a fantastic top grade Qimen Jin Zhen Hong Cha (祁门金针红茶) produced in Qimen County of Anhui Province, China. Made entirely by hand from young tender buds, it has a complex, yet delicate profile. This particular lot was harvested in Spring 2020 from tea trees grown at higher altitude.
The origin of Qimen Hong Cha (祁门紅茶) or ‘Keemun Red Tea’ only dates back to the late 19th century. The Keemun name comes from an older Western spelling of the town of Qimen in Anhui Province, which is the birthplace of this tea. Keemun quickly become a popular and famous black tea, especially in the West, due to an appealing, fragrantly sweet and fruity character that it develops. Many other sub-types of this tea exist: Mao Feng, Hao Ya and Congou (Gong Fu) being the most common and popular ones. Lower grade Keemun black teas are also commonly used in tea blends.
This particular Keemun is a Golden Needle (Jin Zhen) style of tea, the name referring to the appearance of the dry leaf that resembles small thin needles with a golden colour. While not as well-known as the more famous Mao Feng type, this is a fantastic top tier tea that is quite rare due to limited production. When compared to other styles, this Keemun is made from smaller, younger leaves that are picked earlier in spring. In contrast, the Mao Feng style generally utilises larger leaf that is picked towards the end of spring, resulting in a fuller and bolder flavour that definitely misses out on complexity and delicate nuances.
This Keemun Jin Zhen Golden Needle has neat thin leaves that are mostly dark in appearance, with an attractive golden colour. It brews up a lightly coloured liquor that is highly aromatic with a fruity and malty scent. The soft and delicate character of this tea nicely combines with a complex fruity and malty profile. The taste starts on a more mineral edge, slowly progressing to malty and sweet notes of red stone fruits and additional lightly roasted, sweet tobacco notes. There is a hint of tangy passionfruit just before the taste reaches a more mineral and tangy aftertaste that is lasting, yet clean. It is a delicate tea that showcases the famous Keemun aromatics and sweetness, delivering them in a sophisticated manner.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste, brewing multiple times. This is a rare and top end tea that is to be enjoyed without anything added and best brewed gong fu style.
This Keemun Jin Zhen Golden Needle black tea was first featured in our April 2021 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.