Qimen Caixia (Sunrise Keemun)

Organic Black Tea 2019

A rare example of early harvest black tea, made from hand picked unbroken early spring buds and leaves. Very floral, complex and sweet, with a unique flavor due to the popular local Keemun tea cultivar, which is often used in black breakfast blends. Qimen Caixia takes its name from its vermilion color, radiant as the sky at sunrise, and makes for an excellent morning tea.

Clear selection

Tea Origin
Qimen County, Anhui Province, China

Tea Bush
Qimen Xiao Chu Ye Zhong (Qimen Small Leaf Tea Bush)

Tea Master
Wang Chang

Harvest Time
Late March

Picking Standard
One bud, one leaf

This organic black tea is a famous product of Qimen county in China’s Anhui province. Qimen is a hilly and forested county where black tea has been produced for just over one hundred years. The most famous story of Qimen black tea’s origin regards Mr. Yu Gan Chen, a retired official who returned to Qimen from service in Fujian, where he witnessed black tea’s popularity as an export commodity. Mr. Yu brought the style back with him, establishing black tea manufacturing in his home county as an innovative way to bring wealth to the local economy.

The local tea bush cultivar is known for having especially small leaves known as xiao zhu ye zhong. The dry leaves of organic black tea made from this bush appear dense and tightly curled but when infused they reveal themselves to be soft and tender, yielding an aroma that is both subtle and persistent. Their flavor lacks the tannic heaviness of other black tea, instead its infusion is refreshingly delicate with the clean complexity of light brown sugar.

Historically, Qimen County’s black tea has used leaves that were picked after the middle of April and chopped them during processing. However, in the last decade qimen producers have started to use unbroken, early spring leaves, like those typically reserved for high-end green tea. This new technique requires more skill but yields a better result. Qimen Caixia is an example of this kind of tea. Its one bud and one leaf configuration poses a problem a problem to the tea crafter. Because the bud is made up of many layers of small leaves, the crafter must carefully control the conditions of oxidation so that every layer of leaf is fully and evenly oxidized. When oxidation is well controlled, the tea will not sour. Rather, it develops the sweetness and complex flowery aroma exemplified by Qimen Caixia.

Qimen Caixia’s namesake is its color – deep cinnabar, radiant as the sky at sunrise.  Appropriately enough, it makes for an excellent morning tea, freshening your mood with a beautiful aroma and a sweet flavor which are sustained through multiple infusions.

No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.


Qimen Caixia (Sunrise Keemun) brewing guidelines

Brewing vessel: 12 oz glass, porcelain, or yixing pot
Brewing Guidelines: 3/4 Tbs (3g) of tea leaves. Boiling filtered water. 1st infusion at least 2 minutes.
Infusions: The leaves are good for 5 infusions