Gui Hua Qimen (Osmanthus Keemun)

Black Tea 2022

The classic spicy flavor of Keemun tea blends seamlessly into the soothing character of osmanthus flowers in this sweet-scented spring black tea. The bright golden-orange liquor has a subtle yet persistent florality like a cloud of flowers.


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Tea Origin
Qimen County (tea) and She County (osmanthus), Anhui Province, China

Tea Bush
Qimen Xiaochuyezhong (Qimen Small Leaf Tea Bush)

Tea Maker
Wang Fangsheng and Wang Huizhou

Harvest Time
Late March

Plucking Standard
One bud, one leaf

Qimen black tea from the eponymous Qimen County is famed well outside the borders of Anhui Province and China itself. It’s become a staple member of breakfast blends worldwide, and many black tea drinkers are familiar with its unique sweet-spicy character even if they don’t know its source. Within its home range, this particular flavor and fragrance, found only in tea made from Qimen County’s heirloom tea cultivar, is so distinctive that it’s known simply as the Qimen flavor. That’s why we prefer the early spring harvest of unbroken young buds and leaves that let this character shine at its peak, like the material that makes up the base of Osmanthus Keemun as well as our standalone Qimen Caixia (Sunrise Keemun).

Of course, we wouldn’t go to all the trouble of sourcing this high-end spring leaf just to cover up that scrumptious Qimen-ness with other aromas. The process of scenting the tea with osmanthus is executed with a delicate touch. It uses kilos of the tiny golden flowers, harvested fresh from osmanthus trees in Huangshan, mixed with genuine Qimen black tea, and then sieved out, repeating the process three times. It’s a slow process that requires the better part of a week to complete.

Osmanthus’s sweet, heady perfume can be powerful. But rather than forming a miasma that draws all attention to the flower, as in many jasmine scented teas, the osmanthus becomes more of a subtle undertone that lets the Qimen aroma play over it with its own florality. So expertly blended and balanced as it is here, it’s hard to tell where the Qimen ends and the osmanthus begins. In perfect complement to the leaf’s complexity, the osmanthus persists through many infusions, balancing the spice with its own unique soothing sweetness and enhancing the overall floral effect of the bright golden-orange liquor.

Gui Hua Qimen (Osmanthus Keemun) brewing guidelines

5 grams (1.5 Tb) tea

12 oz 100°C (212ºF) water

4 min. first infusion

At least 4 infusions: 4, 4, 5, 8 minutes