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HOME > Black Tea > Keemun Black Tea Special Tribute: 祁門紅茶 特貢

祁門紅茶(キームン紅茶)

 


The highest quality Keemun produced by Keemun Black Tea Factory

With one sip, we can feel that tea flows down through our throat and gives smooth drinking feeling and soft texture as if we are drinking fine extra virgin olive oil. Our body gets warmer, our face blushes and we feel very relax with a little drunk feeling. This is typical effects when we drink high quality tea, Keemun Special Tribute included.

Do you worry if tea keeps you awake?
Drinking ordinary tea will keep you awake. On the contrary, Keemun Special Tribute makes you sleepy. We feel the same when we drink good wine or spirits. Low quality alcohol gives us nothing but drunk and hang-over, while good drinks never lead such consequences. Drinking Keemun Special Tribute makes us relax. I assumed it is due to improved blood circulation.

We have been introducing "Keemun Black Tea". This tea is well-balanced between its quality and price. On the other hand, Keemun Special Tribute is graded as the top-end quality produced by Keemum tea factory. In the history, Keemum tea factory is the first factory produced Keemun tea. It used to be a state-own factory and their product is regarded as the "standard quality of Keemun tea".

I have visited Keemun tea factory to survey their tea garden as well as tea making process. I have tasted their full range of tea. The normal quality gives typical Keemun flavor and it is a pleasant and enjoyable tea. Keemun Special Tribute is "gift tea" quality and generally it is not available in commercial tea market. Usually it is presented as a gift for national guest. It is often purchased by the CEO from gigantic organization in Anhui province as corporate gift for the key person in the states.

Keemun Special Tribute is a completely different cup of tea from ordinary Keemun Black Tea. First of all, it gives a very thick taste. Thick taste is different from bitter or astringent taste. The thick taste means it lasts for a very long time and its sweetness stays on our throat for a while. For normal Keemun, even though more leaves is used to make a very concentrated brew, its taste becomes either bitter or astringent and it is not thick. For Keemun Special Tribute, you can enjoy this tea with great satisfaction even if you drink this tea while pinching your nose. It is not the aroma that appeals, but the after taste.

 

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The entrance of Keemun Black Tea Factory

Tasting Scene

 

The Grading of Keemun Tea

 

This is the standard grading of Keemun tea in Keemun Black Tea Factory. In terms of price, the Special Tribute grade is priced as expensive as more than 50 times of the lowest grade of Keemun tea.

◇ The Standard Grading of Keemun Tea in Keemun Black Tea Factory

1 特贡 (Special Tribute)
2 贡茶 (Tribute Tea)
3 礼茶 (Gift Tea)
4 特茗
5 特级 (Special)
6 一级 (First)
7 二级 (Second)
8 三级 (Third)

(Followed by the broken leaf and so on)

We often come across various style of grading if we browse internet or tea book. In fact, any other type of grading indicates either

1. It is merely set by respective tea merchant
2. It comes from other factories

The following photo was taken during the tasting session in Keemun black tea factory.

keemunThe standard Keemun that HOJO is selling at lower price is equivalent to the 3rd or 4th grade. Usually the price of Keemun tea becomes exponentially higher when the grade increases.

Special Material is chosen for Tribute Grade
In black tea factory, it is a common practice that grading is carried out only after tea is processed. However, special tribute is exceptional case. It has to be produced from specified material that gives better quality. Firstly, tea garden is situated at higher elevation. Secondly, farmer has to put special care to slow down the growing speed of tea. Eventually each tea leaf has more tiny cells with much higher density and it contains a lot of iron. This will contribute to the three dimensional drinking feeling and long-lasting aftertaste.

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Manual Grading

One of the tea gardens owned by Keemum Black Tea Factory.

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1. Tea Growing Area

The tea garden is scattered at the mountainous area which covered by forest. At this area, there is sufficient rainfall and the atmospheric temperature is lower with higher humidity. One of the essential factors for good black tea is mellow taste. This taste is originated from amino acid found in tea leaf, named as theanine. Young buds contains high level of theanine and when tea leaves receive sun light, theanine is converted to polyphenol such as catechins. At high elevation, the area is often covered by fog which blocks the direct sun light on tea leaves. Consequently, tea leaves are very rich in theanine as the conversion to polyphenol is not effectively taking place. This is the foundation for the Keemun with long-lasting fragrance and non-astringent but mellow taste.

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2. History and Culture

Keemun was made in year 1875 at Keemun County (祁门县 Qi-men Xian) at Anhui Province (安徽省 An-hui Sheng). During the early stage of Qing Dynasty, the Keemun County was famous in producing green tea. In the beginning of Qing Dynasty, the process of black tea was developed in Fujian Province. The increase popularity of black tea in oversea market caused the bloom of black tea production in Anhui Province. Due to its high profit margin, the tea merchant started to influence the farmer to involve in the production of black tea. It was mainly exported and Britain was one of its main importers besides France, US, German, etc. Once upon a time (1939-1940), Keemun recorded the highest selling price at the wholesale market at New York City as compared to other famous black tea, e.g., India, Ceylon black tea.
Keemun Black Tea gives fresh sweet sugary flavor with scent of flowery note; its long-lasting aromatic flavor had gained much attention. Up to date, it enjoys equal popularity and fame as Darjeeling Tea from India and Uva Black Tea from Sri Lanka. The Imperial and Noble Family used to treat it as a fashionable beverage and presented it as a Gift Tea during special occasion.

Keemun Black Tea has been awarded for many times at international and domestic tea contest. The main awards are:
1913:  Keemun Black Tea was awarded the Gold Prize at the Expo held at Italy
1915:  It won the Gold Prize during the Expo (万国博览会) held at Panama
1987: During the 26th World Premium Food Product Contest held at Belgium, Keemun has won the gold prize.
1988: Keemun was awarded the gold prize during the 1st Food Expo in China.

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3. Brewing Technique

Preservation of Tea Leaf

Stable Quality

Well fermented black tea is very stable for long storage and not necessary to apply any specific method during storage. Keep tea in ambient and dry atmosphere. The enjoyable quality is maintained for more than a year. Please strictly refrain from the humidity. Tea must be tightly sealed when it is kept. Avoid enclosed area such as inside cupboard or drawer as these places are damp. Please also avoid opening tea inside humid atmosphere. Once tea leaf absorbs some moisture, the deterioration will be triggered.

If you notice any deterioration on the leaf, pleaes apply micorowave for about 30 seconds. It will often refresh the leaf. However it is important to get it cooled down spreading on the paper.

Be aware of keeping inside fridge

Although many people think that keeping tea inside the fridge is the best, it is not advisable from technical point of view. Tea which is cold temperature easily gets water condensation when it is taken out from the fridge. Once tea gets water condensation, the quality will deteriorate within a few days. Moisture trigger oxidation and it completely destroy the quality of tea. If tea is kept inside fridge, it is necessary to leave it in ambient atmosphere for 24 hours in order to gradually warm up tea leaf. Based on our experience, 12 hours is not long enough. Tea looks warm, yet inside tea leaf is still cold due to insulation effect. In any case, for this particular tea, please do not even think of keeping inside fridge.

 

Safety as a Part of HOJO's Quality

 

Please feel free to send us e-mail for enquiry at:

E-mail

 

Payment

Solution Graphics

We accept various kinds of credit card through Paypal.

Only if customer prefer other option of payment, we suggest "Bank Transfer".

 

Shipping

Various choice of shipping method

EMS, SAL, Small Packet, Small Packet (SAL) Yamato Express and Surface

For shipping tea, we usually suggest small air parcel, the estimated shipping cost of tea in 100g (with wrapping material ) is

Small Parcel

USA JPY 600, EU JPY600 and Asia JPY470

Small Packet (SAL)

USA JPY380, EU JPY380 and Asia JPY320

The shipping fee to oversea by small air parcel happens to be even cheaper than domestic shipping fee in Japan.

 

Custom Fee

For your information, some countries, EU in particular imposes custom duty. We need buyer to bare the duty. We are sorry, but we cannot change the amount on the invoice, and we do not mark any packages as gifts. We will strictly follow the custom regulation.

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