The stories behind our teas are often as alluring as the taste of the tea itself. Keemun
's story is no exception. It's said that Keemun tea was first discovered in 1875 by a government official visiting the area on a mission to learn more about how to make black tea. The story of Keemun’s tea’s birth goes like this; a man named Yu Ganchen travelled to the Fujian province of China to learn the secrets of quality black tea, as the Anhui province up to that point only produced green tea. What he learned on his travels enabled him to grow and produce the first Keemun tea, which quickly became popular throughout the world.
Coming from Qimen County, the tea is sometimes referred to as Qimen tea. ‘Keemun’ has been the English translated spelling for Qimen since the days of the colonial era. Keemun actually has a pretty short history compared to other black teas, as it was first produced in 1875.
China's biggest export at the time, green tea was rivalled by India's expensive black teas and the Chinese were keen to find an alternative. Yu Ganchen's mission was successful and he discovered that Chinese leaf could make a black as well as a green tea. If only he knew what we know now - that this special leaf can actually transform into six tea varieties (black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, Pu'erh or fermented tea Keemun tea, or China Black as it is sometimes called, quickly created quite a legacy for itself as one of the first black teas to be exported out of China. It is also a key ingredient in the breakfast blend English Breakfast.