Keemun, or qimen black teas come from the Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) region of Anhui Province in central China. As with much of China’s tea culture, the technique for producing this tea was borrowed from neighboring Fujian Province. Today qimen is one of the most popular teas in China, and the flavor varies greatly from farm to farm. It is a fully oxidized tea, which means it was fully aged before it was dried, bringing out a deeply rich, dark color. Although qimen’s flavor is hard to pinpoint, it makes the perfect English breakfast tea no matter the variety.
The broken qimen is a finely processed tea that is meant to bring out the stronger side of black teas. Though only the fine buds are used, they are shaken and broken into fine pieces to allow for the full flavor of the leaves to be released. The broken qimens have an more potent smoky flavor and aroma. The initial scent of the tea reminds one of fresh tobacco leaves on a Virginia farm, but the infusions are far from a raw tobacco flavor. There are also hints of vine-growing fruits and a range of exotic spices. The low-mountain version has a stronger flavor and darker color than its high-mountain counterpart.