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Keemun Black Tea

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  • Keemun Black Tea
  • Keemun Black Tea
Keemun Black Tea's main producing area lies in Qimen(Keemun) County, Anhui Province. The unique climate and proper soil produces the first-class Keemun Black Tea in the world. Keemun black tea is one of the world's three high-Hong, China's national affairs over the years has been the tea ceremony.

Availability: In stock

Special Price $13.90

Regular Price: $17.40

Details

Weight: 250 g (9 oz)
Tea Grade Special Grade
Includes: Tea Leaves, Packing Bag
Place Of Origin: Anhui, China
Quality Guarantee Period: 24 Months

Style: Long, thin, wiry budset tea
Flavor: Deep, rich
Aroma: Distinctively earthy, slightly reminiscent of chocolate
Liquor: Classic copper color
Steeping: 3 to 5 minutes at 190° to 205°F. Drink plain or with milk and or sweetener
Keemun teas are generally small-leafed, wincy, crisp, and lean. Keemun black tea, though, due to its larger-size pluck, is fatty and full-bodied. It has an unusual style and is as unique a black tea as one can find anywhere. One of the most distinctive flavor components that drinkers notice immediately is the unusual cocoalike dryness and chocolaty, lingering aftertaste. Keemun black tea has none of the slight smokiness and charcoal-fired flavor that is classic to many Chinese black and oolongs teas, but rather mirrors the honeyed, clean, and clear, focused style of a premium large-leaf Assam or Ceylon tea.

The Keemun Black Tea derives its name from its place of origin, Keemun (Qimen) County of Anhui Province. A top product among Chinese congou black teas, it has long been serving as a national gift tea of China for foreign envoys. It is one of the top three high-aroma black teas in the world. The other two are the Darjeeling Black Tea of India and Uva Black Tea of Sri Lanka.

A Century of Keemun Black Tea

The world has three great black teas: Darjeeling from India, WUFA from Sri Lanka and China's Keemun. Keemun's full name is "Qimen Gongfu Black Tea." For convenience, Chinese speakers often drop the two characters for Gongfu when referring to this tea, simply calling it Qimen Black Tea or Qihong. Owing to its popular English usage, the term "Keemun" will be used in this article, as opposed to the pinyin spelling of "Qimen".

A taste of Keemun brings a face of joy

Mainland China's three great tea growing mountain ranges are Wuyi Mt., Tianmu Mt. and Huang Mt.. Keemun is located to the west of Huang Mt. in a heavily forested basin, inside a national level nature reserve. Guniu Jiang is the centre of the tea production area, and 80% of the area is covered with forest: the vegetation is lush, the forest thick, natural resources abundant and the local produce diverse, with Keemun tea being the area's most famous export. A poem in praise of Keemun reads: “Thick, mystic fogs flow over Guniu Jiang, Inside the fog, grows Keemun Tea.” Capturing the essence of the mountain forest and the spiritual influence of the clouds and mist, breathing in the fine spring rain, bathed in the flower fragrances of the mountains, the unique beauty of Keemun tea is created.

Keemun tea's unique fragrance seems to possess perfumes of apples and orchids, fresh and long lasting; it is a hero among teas. The flower notes are not quite flowers, the honey notes are not quite honey, and the sugar notes are not quite sugar: it is a difficult tea to describe. Hence, experts have come up with the name “Keemun fragrance.” This Keemun fragrance has grown renowned at home and abroad. Keemun's appearance is extraordinary: a lustrous deep black, the stems and leaves are taught and delicate, buds both sharp and elegant. After it is poured, the gorgeous red liquor will seem to thicken in consistency. This is the best tea infusion, to which other teas cannot compare. Keemun's taste is unique, smooth and mild in the mouth, with a lingering sweet aftertaste.

After the founding of the country, the quality of Keemun tea rose as industry began to realise its value. In 1931, one dan (50kg) of Keemun tea was sold for 620 grams of silver. The auction opening prices had great influence on the yearly prices of Keemun tea. According to Shanghai's Dagong Daily of June 1st, 1936:

"This year, Anhui's renowned Keemun black tea and Jiangxi's Ningzhou improved black tea have come onto the market. The China Tea Company commenced sales several days ago, buying 20 lots, Dade bought 55 lots, Huada 30 lots, with each lot going for 300 Yuan. 51 lots of Ningzhou improved black tea were sold at a price of 145 Yuan. Bids on both black teas were opened by both foreign and Chinese tea traders, turning an unprecedented page in the trade of Chinese tea."

At the same time, the Shen Bao reported: "Following the lead of the China Tea Company, many foreign firms continued the purchasing, trade was buzzing, with around 20,000 cases sold. Regarding the British market, owing to the shipping season being close at hand, in order to load the first ships, tea prices consecutively rose."
After the founding of the country, foreign traders had the deepest influence on the international trade in Keemun tea due to their long term purchasing of the tea, coupled with Western habits of drinking China's Keemun. In their buying of Keemun tea, most customers do not even ask for samples, and are happy to purchase standard grade teas. Mention the word "Keemun" to seasoned Western tea drinkers, and they won't stop talking about it, with some individuals signing long term contracts to purchase Keemun tea. Keemun loving countries such as England and Holland furthermore designed various styles of beautiful packaging to meet their domestic market requirements. Before the first teas came onto the market each year, foreign traders would begin reserving teas in Spring, impatiently waiting for the early arrival of new Keemun tea at the Guangzhou Export Commodities Fair. Upon obtaining their tea, they would excitedly shout "China's Keemun fragrance has arrived!"

In everyday life, people from all around the world like to serve China's Keemun black tea to display their hospitality when receiving guests. British people adore drinking Keemun tea; older people especially cherish a Keemun cuppa, served both as an afternoon and breakfast tea. It is reputed that Queen Elizabeth II is particularly fond of Keemun tea; the first of her daily ablutions is to sip a cup of Keemun, the royal family also give the Queen Keemun tea as birthday gifts. One particular London Tea shop has a room dedicated the sale of Keemun tea. Upon receiving Keemun tea as a gift from visiting Chinese friends, Chair of the British Tea Council, Dr. James in his welcoming ceremony said:

"Today, our Chinese friends have brought us the most precious gift, Prince's tea. Once more may we cherish the sweet fragrance of China's Keemun tea."

In mid May, 1980, upon discovering that the arrival of the first shipment of Keemun to London was earlier than that of previous years, old hands of the English tea trade exclaimed: Keemun's fragrance has returned, the quality is great! and "This year the Spring tea is early to arrive, the finest leaf we have yet to see!" As well as esteeming the tea, merchants further increased their purchase orders, printed advertisements, sent out leaflets, and rushed to obtain the tea they required. Some of these tea companies even sent congratulatory telegrams to Keemun, China. According to the recollections of Ma Benling, staff from the Agricultural Trade Department brought British tea specialists to inspect tea production in Keemun as early as 1914. Their trip took them to Gulao Wu tea plantation, and they observed female tea pickers as well as the cultivation and management of the plantations. In the period between 1951 and 1960, 27 tea specialists from the Soviet Union came to inspect the Keemun tea factory and conduct tea trials. Consultant to the British Overseas Tea Company, Chair of the German Tea Import and Export Association Mrs.White, the Japanese Tea Group Taniki Yozo and seven others, Sri Lankan friends and so on, In the forty years after the founding of the country, Keemun tea attracted over 100 friends from abroad.

An official of the World Fine Food Committee headquarters in Europe, holding a package of Keemun tea in front of his chest was heard to say: "Keemun black tea surpasses other teas from previous sessions, and is the finest tea so far." He further expressed a desire to visit China, and make a trip to the Keemun black tea district. The Turkish poet Hiker mett puts it beautifully: "In the fragrance of a Chinese tea, I discovered the scent of spring." Japanese specialist Matsushita Satoshi visited Keemun, and left the inscription: "The world's finest black tea." Furthermore, celebrated tea expert from Japan, Ms. Yamanishi Sada declared upon drinking Keemun that it was the finest black tea she had ever tasted.

Chairman of the Taiwan Chinese Tea Culture Association, Mr. Fan Zengping instigated the social survey "Keemun Tea in Taiwan." Group tastings reached the following appraisal of the tea: Lacking the bitter astringency of ordinary teas, the taste is mellow and mild, smelling of sweet honey; there is a hint of fruit fragrance in the mouth. After drinking, a sweet taste loiters, the flavour is very good, leaving a lingering sweetness on the lips, the taste is balanced, with no astringency; a hint of wolfberry sweetness envelops the mouth."

Ideal natural conditions and an accomplished production process along with a unique fragrance combine to craft: the elegance of Keemun, earning the tea considerable international and domestic prestige: Keemun was awarded a prize in the 1913 ???????? Gold Prize in the 1915 Panama Exhibition, later winning an award in the Italian 獰???⑶???Exhibition.
Production was disrupted by the Chinese civil war, Keemun tea fell out of the spotlight, but its fine reputation endured. For a considerable time after the founding of the country, Keemun tea was controlled as a state monopoly product, so it was not entered into competitions. After the 11th Communist Party Congress, in line with plans to develop the economy, business management initiatives emphasised the importance of developing the various markets. Upon returning to the arena of competitions, awards and honours came one after another:

Since 1980, the Keemun Tea Factory has produced superior grade, first grade and second grade teas, all of which have been certified as national top quality products. These products also received gold medal awards throughout the 1980s for the first time since the founding of the country.

In 1983, the Keemun Tea Factory's Gongfu black tea was certified as a top quality export product by the Ministry of Foreign Trade.

In 1984, the Keemun Tea Factory’s First, Second and Third grade black teas were designated as top quality products by the Commerce Department, while Gongfu black tea was assessed as a top quality product of Anhui province.

In 1985, Zhonghua Brand superior and first grade black teas received national gold medals.

In 1986, at the Famous Chinese Teas Competition in Fuzhou, the Keemun Tea Factory's Gift Tea received first prize.

In 1988, Keemun Mountain Brand's superior and first grade black teas took double gold medals at the first session of the Chinese Food Exhibition.

In 1991, Zhonghua Brand's superior grade and first grade black teas were once again recognised as national gold medal products. Keemun Mountain Brand's black tea was awarded a gold medal at the Hong Kong International Food Exhibition.

In 1996, Keemun Mountain Brand Gongfu black tea was tasted and judged by the National Top-quality Food Committee and for the fifth time, awarded a gold medal.

In 1998, Keemun Xiangluo, a tea created by the College of Agricultural Science, Keemun Tea Research Institute was recognised as a state level tea at the fifth session of the Anhui Fine Tea Tasting Assembly.

In 2000, Keemun Xiangluo received awards from countries including Korea, Japan and Malaysia, and received an international gold medal.

In 2001, Keemun black tea underwent national quality control testing overseen by the Bureau of Quarantine and Inspection. This was conducted so that the tea could be assigned a guarantee of provenance; Keemun black tea was in turn assigned a state level guarantee of provenance label.

In 2006, the Hua Mingyuan Tea Company's Keemun black tea received a gold prize from the sixth session of the International Famous Tea Competition.

In October 2007, the fourth China International Tea Exhibition was held in Beijing. Qixiang Brand Keemun black tea came to the fore, and was honoured to receive a gold medal, the sole tea from Anhui to win such an award.

Owing to its fine quality, Keemun tea has received awards in almost all of the domestic competitions it has entered. In 1987, Keemun made its first stride onto the international stage (since the founding of the country in 1949), receiving a gold medal at the 26th 訝???よ?繇??屋????in Belgium. This achievement will be forever be remembered as a high point in the history of Keemun, and for Chinese tea as a whole.

Keemun is a princess among teas. Possessing the health protecting qualities of other teas, Keemun is a ftilly oxidised tea. As a result of the oxidation process, the resulting nutrients within the tea leaves become more abundant than those possessed by other tea varieties. Keemun even contains nutrients levels comparative to those present in other foodstuffs. Keemun s Vitamin K content is similar to that of fresh spinach; the tea also has higher fluorine content than any other variety. Furthermore, Keemun possesses relatively high levels of theaflavins and ???榮? caffeine and amino acids.

From many years of researching Keemun tea, experts have discovered the tea to possess many health protecting properties, the most important of which are listed below:

1. Refreshing and stimulating, diuretic and able to alleviate dysentery. Principally, caffeine and volatile oils combine to give the tea said efficacies.

2. Strengthens teeth, fights tooth decay, clears grease and is good for the stomach. Keemun has a high fluorine content, to the degree that the tea is helpful in preventing tooth decay. Furthermore, the tea is considered warming (according to Traditional Chinese medicine classifications), so is consequently good for the stomach, and able to dispel stomach colds.

3. Lowers blood pressure, guards against coronary illnesses. It has been proved that Keemun s theaflavins are effective in lowering blood pressure, and strengthening blood vessel walls.

4. Weight loss, anti-carcinogenic properties.

Brewing time is the key to getting the most from your cup of Keemun. If the brewing time is too short, amino acids in the tea will not have time to release, and the sweet Keemun fragrance will not appear. If the brewing time is too long, the tannins and catechins present in the tea leaves will be completely released, resulting in a bitter infusion. In order to attain a correct brewing time, it is important to use a timer and observe changes in the colour of the liquor, the bright, lustrous red hue is one of the notable characteristics of Keemun black tea. Keemun's outstanding quality and unique taste and fragrance have made the tea popular both home and abroad, inspiring wide spread demand from consumers.

Trace back time passed; the reward will be fine

Keemun black tea has been produced since the early years of the Guangxu period, and already boasts 130 years of history. Regarding the manufacturing process of Keemun tea, there are three historical sources we can refer to: The first was written by Hu Yuanlong, in his Qing Imperial memorial number 119 (a folded paper record, commonly in accordion form): "Anhui began to produce black tea in a similar manner to Fujianese black tea makers. This was initiated by Mr Hu Yuanlong, a native of Guixi in southern Qimen, in the Xian Feng year. He planted 5000 mu (1 mu is equivalent to 1/6 of an acre) of mountain land with tea plants. In the second year of the Guangxu period, owing to the unfevourable market in green tea, he made a concerted effort to learn methods of producing Keemun black tea, raising 60,000 Yuan in order to build the Rishun tea fectory; he further improved black tea production, spending the last forty years tirelessly sharing and spreading his knowledge of black tea."

A similar report was published in the Agricultural Gazette, 1916. The Second is from Yu's theory, appearing in the "Keemun Revival Plan" published in 1937:

"In the second year of the Guangxu period, 1876, Yu Mou came to Keemun, representing the Zhide Tea Company, setting up a branch in Likou, purchasing black tea at high prices from local growers. The following year, he set up a new branch in Shan Li. At that time, Tong Chun Rong came to Keemun to invest in the tea industry and black tea grew in popularity."

Yu mou was also known as Yu Qianchen, a man from the county of Yi. According to the Yi county records:

"Yu Qianchen was from Lichuan County, one of the pioneers of Keemun tea, originally an official in Fujian. In the second year of the Guangxu period, 1875, he opened a tea shop in Zhide, (today s Dongzhi), on Yaodu street, selling tea made using Fujianese black tea production methods. In the following year he set up a tea shop in Likou, Keemun County."

The Third source is from Chen's Miscellany:

"Hu Yuanlong, Chen Lieqing and others have successively built tea factories in southwest Keemun; their effort in recruiting and training workers has caused Keemun to bloom. The respective tea factories of the two aforementioned men are considered the earliest in the area, Hu Rishun and Chen Yifeng factories."

Chen's Miscellany no longer exists in its original form, so fewer people believe his version of events.

Keemun black tea took its first steps into the world tea scene as the winds of change were shaking the balance between green and black teas. According to records, from the period between 1896 and 1900, black and green tea exports each had an index of 100. By 1915, black tea only possessed an index of 77, while green tea had an index of 143. Clearly black tea was floundering behind its un-oxidised cousin. Under these circumstances, Keemun black tea was swept along upon the currents of the fresh Spring breeze, from the steep mountain sides of south Anhui, to land as a shining light upon the world stage.

Its beautiful appearance, fresh flavour, fine fragrance and inimitability combined to offer tea drinkers a fresh tea experience. Tea dealers flocked to obtain Keemun, while foreign merchants, were frenzied in their buying of the tea; exports continued to rise. The end of the Guangxu period to the early years of the Republic of China was the golden years of the Keemun black tea trade. At that time, Keemun tea was principally exported to Britain, America, Germany, France, Denmark and Russia, from the port at Hankou.

When the first batches were finished on an auspicious, chosen day, the cannons fired and music played as the masters and workers feasted. The tea cases were sealed then conveyed by boat to Hankou, where the tea warehouses opened their central gates to the boatmen, who were fed and entertained, the ceremony was nobly grand!

This was an old tea trader's recollections of that year's great events: "Opening the central gate to receive guests is, according to Anhui customs, the most honourable reception one may provide. Opening the central gate, an entry usually reserved for high officials, to receive Keemun tea indicates the respect bestowed upon said tea. The door opening shenanigans hence resulted in the popular tea proverb of the time 'First enter the officials, followed by the tea' The graceful growth of Keemun in its early days is undeniable."

"The soils may be ideal, but improvements still may be made. "

In 1915, The combined coastal governments of Liaoning, Hebei, and Shandong set up China's first scientific tea research institute in Keemun, the Keemun Tea Improvement Station, sounding the horn for the commencement of China's scientific research into tea, in turn further promoting the status of Keemun black tea.

Good things don't last forever, the breakout of the First World War struck the global tea market; formerly robust Keemun black tea was by no means immune to the tides of the time. Records show that during the four year period between 1926 and 1929, overseas sales of Keemun tea fell by 80%. The market was lashed by a cold wind, and Keemun black tea caught the brunt of this, as its production suffered immensely.

First came changes in the ports. Keemun tea was originally exported from Hankou, but in 1919, the fees charged by the ports of Hankou and Shanghai were in a constant state of flux. By 1920, due to changes in the international market, foreign traders were anxious to economise; in order to cut down on shipping expenses between Hankou and Shanghai, the tea trading market moved to Shanghai.

Next came a sharp rise in tea taxes. Beginning in 1916, Anhui's provincial department of finance, with the pretext of facilitating collection of tea taxes, imposed provincial transit duty taxes to Keemun County Town Wu Qiaotou (South of Ren Jiqiao), and Shanli in the west of the county. Keemun's southern road to Hubei had been subject to provincial transit duties for a long time, so this added tax would have been an unwelcome burden for tea farmers. Furthermore, tax officers had a habit of extorting the tea growers, to a point that they could not endure. The community took a stand against this injustice, and the president of the Keemun chamber of commerce led the tea traders and tea growers in a movement to reduce taxes. This movement went on for two years, and the documents piled up, until eventually, the Provincial Department of Finance agreed to remove the tax. When this news reached Keemun, everyone celebrated the achievement, and a stone monument was inscribed to commemorate their victory.

The influence of another war of resistance

From 1937, the Kuomintang government enforced a policy of state monopoly on all of China's teas, stipulating that each tea growing province establish an organisation to govern tea production and centralise tea sales. Originally, this governing body was the recently formed China Tea Company in Shanghai, but as the market moved south to Hong Kong, the Fuhua Trading Company took control of centralised overseas sales.

After Shanghai fell to the Japanese, many other Chinese cities fell into enemy hands, government bodies and merchants fled to the relative safety of the Jiangnan (area south of the Yangtze). The ancient town of Tunxi had been an important point for tea collection and distribution; under the influence of this exodus, the town further prospered, to the degree that it was called "Little Shanghai." Keemun's convenient location for overseas distribution resulted in its swift expansion, with annual increases in output, and a stable situation that endured for several years. Tea harvests and tea companies also reached historic highpoints: Keemun's most productive year was 1939, with a total production of nearly 70 thousand cases. With each case weighing 25 kilograms, this equates to 1750 tonnes, one third of China's total black tea output. In comparison with other black teas in the world, prices that have been paid for Keemun are unmatched. At its highest point, 720 grams of silver was paid for one dan (50kg) of Keemun black tea for export. This was an unprecedented price. Influenced by the Keemun tea industry organisation's push for the registration of tea producers, the year with the highest registration of tea companies was 1940. Spurred on by the strong market of the previous year, the county had 440 registered tea producers (including cooperatives). This was another historical amount. This brief period of prosperity was not to last, and Keemun's second blossoming was soon to be bruised once more by the thunder of war.

In December 1941, the Japanese launched their surprise attack on Pearl Harbour, and the war in the Pacific erupted. Due to the suspension in shipping, Keemun teas path to the international market was immediately cut off. Production became irregular, output fell steeply, with maximum outputs of 5000 dan, not even one sixth of the output of the glory years. Tea famers turned their gardens back to the forest, cut down their tea bushes and burnt the land. Keemun tea thus entered its bleakest phase in its history. After victory in the War of Resistance against Japan, Keemun resumed exports in 1946, and the tea came back from the brink of extinction. In the same year, the United Nations relief funds Anhui sub-office entrusted the Keemun Tea Improvement Station with the responsibility of establishing a work station for the revival of the tea plantations, further providing a financial loan, supplying tea seedlings and wheat flour as aid. From October 1946 until April of the following year, Keemun district's Keemun, Zhide (Dongzhi) as well as Xiuning and other areas brought 200,000 acres of tea plantations back from lying fallow, and in turn the areas were granted more than 1500 tonnes of wheat flower.

At the same time, there was a great resurgence in the tea industry's organisational bodies. That year, 52 tea companies registered, as well as 22 cooperatives, with a total output of 22,702 cases. In the next year, 70 new tea companies registered, as well as 19 new cooperatives, with a total production of 24,843 cases of Keemun black tea. As the Chinese civil war broke out, the tea market crashed, tea prices collapsed and a jin (500g) of tea could be traded for half a jin of salt. Tea growers reluctantly uprooted their once precious tea plants, turning their soils to grow grain. Tea production and quality both fell considerably during these hard times.

In 1948, the yield per mu (1/6 of an acre or 0.0667 hectare) had fallen from a pre-war of 75 jin to 21 jin??erely 16% of the harvest of the finer years. Superior grade teas had disappeared; the tradition of producing fine tea had fallen by the wayside, as tea growers faced bankruptcy:

"If there's no chicken in the day, we'll eat rice; no mice in the night, we 11 eat grain. A straw raincoat as a bedspread and sackcloth for clothes."

Keemun was its closest yet to becoming a tea leaf only Heard of in the pages of history books.

In 1949, Keemun black tea entered a new phase of development. First of all, the importance of Keemun's production was recognised, and government policy provided support to the region, substantially increasing the acreage of Keemun's tea gardens. In the 36 years between 1949 and 1985, under the planned economy system, the management of Keemun tea, from the purchase of fresh picked leaves to finished tea product, as well as domestic and overseas sales was overseen by various state enterprises. After 1978, as policies of economic reform came into play, Chinese society and economy began to move in new directions; systems and organisation of tea production followed suit in these changes.

In 1984, the Chinese government abandoned their state monopoly on tea. At the same time, systems of management in the tea industry began to open up. In the following year, Keemun county set up a special grade Keemun black tea factory, and the original Keemun Tea Factory constructed a workshop dedicated to the production of high grade black tea. The Keemun Tea Factory shouldered the responsibility for the purchase, processing and national sales of their tea, unifying Keemun tea for the production, supply, and marketing breakthroughs that would follow. Within the next three years, the number of high grade specialist production factories in the county had swelled to twelve.

In 1986, the PRC government implemented systemic reforms in foreign trade; the management of tea for export was thus deemed the responsibility of each province, in Anhui, the Province Tea Company took the helm. Henceforth, the overseas sales of the majority of Keemun tea products were handled by the [Anhui] Province Tea Company, while a small amount of tea was still sold by the Shanghai Tea Company. In 1999, the Anhui provincial government transferred the rights of overseas exports of Keemun black tea to the Keemun Tea Factory, re-connecting the tea to the international direct sales market for the first time in over fifty years.

Meeting challenges, making fine tea

As the export rights of Keemun black were returned to the tea’s native soil, the leaf pinned tack on a new course. Keemun's tea growers were faced with challenge after challenge. First came changes in the international market: India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Indonesia had all swiftly risen as black tea producing countries, exporting high volumes of good tea varieties at low prices. This caused the Chinese tea market to wither, as sales volumes went from bad to worse. At this time, however, the attitudes of consumers changed: as the structure of the domestic tea market developed, people vied to get their hands on fine teas from renowned tea producing locales.

Under the influence of price restrictions, the raw material, (tea leaves) required to make the tea was in great demand, and tea makers had difficulty in obtaining the leaves they needed As China moved from a planned economy into a market economy, confusions in the system caused the traditional, state owned Keemun Tea Factory to run into trouble, the newly formed Xiangzhen Tea Factory was granted a loan, as the market struggled, development was slow; Keemun black tea found itself at another treacherous crossroads

Hope shines through in dire times

The people of Keemun were unflinching in facing every challenge that arose. In the 1990s, the county government set about opening the domestic market. At the Changchun convention in 1999, the Keemun Tea Factory strived to open the domestic market to Keemun tea, a first for the tea since the founding of the PRC. In 2000, the county government established organic tea plantations in Keemun and Qiaoshan, with a surface area of 2000 mu. In the same year, two new tea processing plants of improved design were built, and an application for BCS was made. Steps to match Keemun tea with international market standards were underway; by 2006, the county boasted 30,000 mu of certified organic tea gardens, and 60,000 mu of certified "wu gonghai (environmentally harmless)" tea growing land.

In 2001, Keemun had the honour of being assigned the name "China's Homeland of Black Tea", after which the county set about constructing the Keemun Black Tea Park. Keemun black tea further won the admiration of the nation by being a selected tea in the inaugural session of the Chinese Tea Ceremony Contest and the China Famous Tea Recommended Brands Purchase Fair. In the same year, the county established the Keemun Black Tea Association, and began work in certification work to protect and prove the origins of so called "Keemun" teas. The Keemun Black Tea Association began the process of applying for trademarks, while exercising professional autonomy in order to improve and standardise the market. Since 2005, Keemun has hosted a plethora of international black tea festivals, in preparation for Keemun's centenary, a Keemun market has been built, a Cha Wang tea tasting facility has been set up, as well as a Keemun black tea traditional craft centre, in order to preserve Keemun's traditional heritage. Furthermore, the lower Yangtze Plant Breeding Centre has been established. Through the above efforts, Keemun's new has emerged.

Originally state-owned and collectively owned tea factories are stepping back into the light. By 2006, the privately owned and share-owned tea factories in the county had swelled to more than twenty, with more than twenty tea brands a combined annual output approaching 3000 tons. In the same year, the county governme

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