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Facts About Chinese Keemun Black Tea

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Keemun tea is a type of Chinese black tea, originating in Qimen county of Anhui Province, China. This article gives an overview of the caffeine content, health benefits, and other properties of Keemun.


Keemun is primarily produced in Anhui province, but teas in this style have also begun to be produced in nearby Hubei,Jiangxi, and also in Taiwan. Keemun black tea is usually described as having an earthy aroma, and its overall character is quite different from Indian and Ceylon teas. My personal perspective is that Keemun has a richer, warmer quality, often reminiscent of dried fruit, and in higher grades, a pleasing hint of wood or wood smoke. These teas are rich and full-bodied, and are among my favorite black teas.


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Caffeine content:

Although you may be looking for more concrete information, it is hard to generalize about the caffeine content of Keemun. Even though it has its origin primarily in one region and shares certain aspects of production, Keemun is diverse, and comes in different grades. As a general rule though, Keemun is often in the moderate to high end of caffeine content, among teas, which means that it still has considerably less caffeine content than a typical cup of coffee. Keemun black tea has historically been used in breakfast blends, where strongly caffeinated teas were desired


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Health benefits:

Keemun has actually been the subject of direct scientific study, in association with weight loss in animal studies. There is only a small amount of research referring specifically to this special variety of tea, however, most of what can be said about Keemun black tea must be inferred from general researches about black tea.


Although green tea has a stronger association with supposed "health benefits" in the public consciousness in the United States, this association may be skewed by historical factors. Much of the early research on tea and health was conducted in Japan, where tea is synonymous with green tea. Subsequent research has found substantial evidence that black tea is healthy as well. In the absence of more research specifically looking at Keemun, it seems reasonable to conclude that Keemun is likely to have a similar amount of health benefits to black tea.


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Production

The traditional orthodox method of production is still used in China, and treat the leaf with more respect than automated CTC method. For orthodox teas, the leaves are spread out in warm air and allowed to wither in order to reduce their water content. The leaves are then soft and pliable, ready for rolling. The leaf is then put into a rolling machine that presses and twists the leaves, breaking the cells inside the leaf and releasing the natural juice and chemicals that will oxidize with air.After rolling, the leaf is broken up and spread out in thin layers in cool humid air and left to oxidation.The leaf now begins to develop its recognizable aroma and flavour become darker in colour. To stop further oxidation, the tea is fed into large dryers to reduce moisture content as well.


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The automated CTC (Cut, Tear and Curl) is another production method which is widely used in today tea industry that brews more quickly and yields more a strong liquor. This process was developed in the 1950s when the teabag was becoming popular. First, the leaf is withered by the blades inside a CTC machine, which tears and breaks the leaf into tiny particles. The remaining oxidation and drying stages are very similar to the traditional orthodox method but in a more automated way.


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Locating high-quality Keemun:

My recommendation, if you want to buy the best Keemun, is to buy exclusively the loose-leaf. The best Keemun is usually sold by companies that specialize in Chinese tea. Because they store relatively well, Chinese black teas, even the ones with considerably high quality, tend to be relatively inexpensive, with all but the highest grades costing well under $10 for about 1/4 pound or about 100-125 grams. A few companies, including Rishi Tea, Arbor Teas, and Little Red Cup, sell fair trade certified Keemun, produced in Hubei, Anhui, and Jiangxi provinces, respectively.


Its important to know that there are a number of teas produced in other parts of China that closely resemble Keemun in both production process and flavor hence you need to differentiate them from keemun black tea.


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