Tai Ping Hou Kui (太平猴魁) is our classic version of this green tea produced in south-eastern part of Anhui Province of China. A very famous Chinese green tea, it traces the rise to fame back to the early 20th century. It is renowned for the unique shape of the leaves after processing. They can be described as ‘two knives and one pole’, where two straight leaves surround one large bud. Tai Ping Hou Kui is normally translated into English as Peaceful Monkey Leader or Peaceful Monkey King.
This tea is grown at an altitude of about 700m around the Xinming Township, Taiping County of Anhui Province. The tea gardens are scattered around this township, mostly in the mountainous areas, interspersed with ancient forests and rocks. This is the area that produces the authentic Tai Ping Hou Kui green tea. It also lies at the foot of Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) mountain range, itself famous for production of green tea. The harvest season for the best tea lasts only 14 days in the year and is normally at the end of spring. This particular crop was plucked in late April 2022.
Tai Ping Hou Kui green tea undergoes a complex processing that results in these unique shaped leaves. After plucking the tea leaves are pan fried to denature enzymes present in them in order to stop the leaves from oxidising, a process that is known as kill-green. After pan-frying the leaves are transferred onto bamboo plates and heated 3 times, during which the leaves are also shaped by hand into these unique pressed long leaves.
The very long and very flat light to dark green leaves of this Tai Ping Hou Kui green tea have a slightly waxy appearance. You can clearly see the bud plus two leaves on most of the dried leaves. The liquor produced is a pale green colour with a very light pleasant vegetal aroma. The wet leaves have a brilliant green colour to them and they remain whole while brewed. The taste is light, very mellow, vegetal and a little floral. There are notes of fresh green crisp vegetables such as courgettes and spinach. However, there is also a sweet aftertaste that balances nicely with the greener flavours and there is no astringency on the finish. Overall a very balanced, refreshing yet smooth cup!
This green tea is best brewed at 80°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste and can be brewed more than 3 times, increasing steeping time with each next brew if desired. As the leaves are so large in size, we do recommend weighing this tea out in order to get the perfect measure when brewing. Commonly this type of tea can be brewed in heat resistant tall glasses to enjoy the appearance of the leaves.
This Tai Ping Hou Kui Peaceful Monkey King green tea was last featured in our May 2021 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.