"the Burgundy of Chinese teas". Keemun comes in many special grades and varieties,
the most desirable of which are Keemun Hao Ya A and B, and Keemun Mao Feng.

In addition to teas produced in Qi men county, there are a number of teas produced
in other parts of China that closely resemble Keemun in both production process and

Lapsang Souchong:

Lapsang souchong is an unusual tea in many respects. It is a souchong, meaning that
it is made out of larger, more mature leaves of the tea plant, unlike most teas which
are made from the top two leaves and the leaf bud. This results in a more mellow
flavor (smooth, with little bitterness) and a lower caffeine content. However, lapsang
souchong is dried over smoke from a pine fire, imparting a distinctive and strong
smoky and piney aroma to the tea. Lapsang souchong is a favorite of some tea
drinkers, but its smokiness is so intense that it is often blended with other Chinese
black teas that have more bitterness but no smoky qualities, to form a blend which is
usually called Russian caravan.

Yunnan Black Teas:

Black teas from Yunnan province are known as dian hong or Yunnan red. These teas
can be quite powerful, and are often described as having a peppery quality, quite
unique among black teas. A special grade of dian hong which has golden-colored
leaves is called Yunnan gold; Yunnan gold has a high portion of leaf buds and is thus
higher in caffeine than other black teas. A tea similar to yunnan gold, called golden
monkey, is also made in Fujian province. Yunnan gold is sometimes rolled into a spiral
shape, yielding a tea called yunnan spiral buds or golden bi luo.

Panyang Congou:

Panyang congou is a type of black tea from Fujian province in southern China.
Congou teas are made from larger, more mature leaves and not buds. Panyang
congou has an older history and more traditional production process than some of
the other Chinese black teas, and is often described as a classic black tea.


Bohea is famous for being the type of tea thrown overboard in the Boston tea party.
Bohea has a smoky aroma somewhat similar to Lapsang souchong. It is not as
widely available as many of the other varieties mentioned above but it is a historically
interesting tea, and it can still be purchased from a few sources.

Try them yourself:

You can only learn so much about tea by reading about it; the best way to gain a
deeper understanding of these teas is to try them for yourself. You may be surprised
at the diversity of flavors and aromas that these and other varieties offer.

About The Author

Alex Zorach has an M.A. in statistics from Yale University, and is an avid tea drinker
and the creator of
, an interactive website for rating and reviewing
teas with a wealth of information about different brands and styles of tea, and
tea-producing regions. Browse
on this site, including reviews, sources from
which you can buy these and other teas, and information about different varieties of
Chinese Black Tea - An Overview of Different Varieties
by Alex Zorach
China is best known for its green
and oolong teas, but there are
numerous famous varieties of
black tea originating in China.
This article gives an overview of
several of the most well-known
types of these Chinese teas.


Keemun, also spelled Qi men, is a
type of black tea named for its
region of origin, Qi men county in
Anhui province. Keemun often
has an aroma suggestive of dried
fruid, and has been described as
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