What is Keemun Tea? Find out through this Quick Guide!

Updated on: January 14, 2022
Author: Nick
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Keemun Tea

Keemun Tea is a black Chinese tea that features a floral yet smoky delicious flavor profile. Read on to find out more about this great tea!

What is Keemun Tea, and its Origins

First cultivated in the late 1800s, Keemun tea, also known as Qimen Hongcha, is a type of Chinese black tea from the Camellia Sinesis plant. It is produced in the Quimen County in Anhui Province, China.

This type of tea features light flavors compared to other stronger black teas. Its aroma is like a bouquet of orchids, with a malty and smoky taste with a low astringency. A very subtle hint of cocoa can be discerned in some types of Keemun tea.

Processing of Keemun Black Tea

The tea leaves are harvested only in spring and summer, and only the buds and the top two or three leaves are selected for further processing.

Keemun tea has an unusually slow withering and oxidation process which creates its flavor.

And its high price!

Once the leaves are dry, they are rolled to ready it for oxidation, the next step for making Keemun tea.

Oxidation of Keemun Tea

Like most black tea, the leaves are allowed to fully oxidize before being heat-processed and dried.

And Keemun black tea is no exception!

Oxygen interacts with chemicals in the leaves, and this is what gives tea its dark color. The flavor changes from a light to bold liquor.


When the tea leaves are picked, they are withered on large bamboo mats in direct sunlight. They are then heated on open fires or in woks.

Subtypes of Keemun Tea

There are five types of Keemun black tea. These are as follows:

  • Keemun Mao Feng, is cultivated early in the season and is made using two leaves and one bud. This is a higher grade Keemun tea.

  • Keenun Hao Ya is harvested after Mao Feng and makes a quality tea blend of leaves and buds. It's still considered a high grade tea, but not has high as Keemun Mao Feng.

  • Keenun Gongfu is specifically made for the Gongfu tea set ceremony in China. It is rolled in tight balls that unfurl satisfyingly in water.

  • Keenun Xin Ya which has a lower tannin content and is made with buds harvested very early in the season.

  • Hubei Keemun which is not technically a Keenum tea as it isn’t produced in Qimen. It is produced in Hubei, but it is similar to Keemun and Darjeeling.

Keemun Black Tea Preparation

Like most black teas, Keemun black takes higher temperatures and steeping times when compared to other types of tea.

  • Ensure the temperature is between 190 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit (88 to 96 Celsius) . You don’t want to use boiling water as this can destroy the oils in the leaves which give it its flavor and health benefits.

  • Steep the leaves or tea bags for up to 5 minutes.

  • You can use tea leaves and tea bags a number of times, but the tea may get weaker and lose some of its flavor.

Recommended Keemun Tea

We recommend Teayra Keemun Mao Feng premium Chinese black loose-leaf tea. This Keenum tea has a honey flavor and can be used as a base for other drinks.

It is smooth with a warm amber color. Harvested in early spring, it is of Mao Feng grade.

Frequently Asked Questions - Keemun Black Tea

What are the health benefits of Keemun?

The oxidization process increases thearubigins and theaflavins which are polyphenols. Polyphenols have lots of antioxidants which help prevent chronic diseases.

Can you drink Keemun tea with milk?

Yes, you can drink Keemun without milk or with milk and sugar. If you are vegan, you can also use oat milk or any other type of milk. 

But I would suggest enjoying the pure flavors of Keemun, specially if it's a high grade tea!

Does Keemun tea have caffeine

Yes, Keemun tea is quite high in caffeine with slightly less caffeine than coffee.

Bottom Line - Keemun Tea

Keemun Black Tea

With its strong floral aroma and malty taste, Keemun tea is a worth a try if you like black tea or are looking for a substitute to coffee with a lower but more sustained caffeine hit.

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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