Keemun Aromatic Snail is a fantastic top grade Ming Qian Qimen Xiang Luo Hong Cha (明前祁门香螺红茶) 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 pre-Qing Ming lot was harvested on 2 April 2022 from tea trees grown at higher altitude.
The origin of Qimen Hongcha (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. We also stock a high grade tippy Keemun Jin Zhen Golden Needle in our shop.
This particular Keemun is an Aromatic Snail (Xiang Luo) style of tea, the name referring to the appearance of the dry leaf that takes the shape of small snail-shaped coils. This is the newest type of Qimen Hongcha that was invented only in the last 20 years or so. It originates from combining the tea making style of Qimen with that of another famous Chinese green tea, Bi Luo Chun. Bi Luo Chun typically has a distinctive coiled leaf appearance as well as a highly aromatic leaf. Just like the famous green tea, this Qimen Hongcha is made of whole young tender leaves that are shaped into snail shapes, also featuring a distinctive and charming Keemun fragrance.
This Keemun Xiang Luo Aromatic Snail has neat tippy leaves that are coiled into small snail shapes and have a good amount of gold colour to them. The brewed leaves open up to display very fine, young leaves and buds. It produces an amber liquor with excellent clarity and brightness. The liquor is aromatic with a malty and fruity scent. The complex flavour is mineral at the start, malty in the middle and finishes with a tangy edge. It does not have any tannins, just a slight dryness from the stony, woody and mineral notes. There are some sweet malty and fruity notes that balance the mineral taste. The aftertaste is tangy, woody and slightly earthy. Overall this is a finely made Qimen Hongcha that is more complex and sophisticated than the standard Keemun Mao Feng.
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 gongfu style.