Qimen is a mountainous region in the southernmost part of Anhui province. 90% of its area is mountainous with an average altitude of about 600m. Because of the mild climate, adequate rainfall and moderate sunshine, Qimen became the most famous black tea producing area in China. For more than 100 years, Qimen black tea has been known as the best afternoon tea for the British. In ancient times, Changjiang was the route of water transport for Qimen black tea and used to flow through the territory of Qimen downstream to reach Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province. Qimen black tea and Jingdezhen ceramics were the most important export commodities of China at that time. They were sold to Europe after traveling through Poyang Lake and then east along the Yangtze River, passing the famous Maritime Silk Road and traveling across the oceans.
As the successor of the art of Qimen black tea production, Wangchang is a real Qimen person and has been closely tied to black tea since he was young.
My father was an employee of the tea factory and my mother had to pick tea leaves every day. My mother would take me to her tea garden every day and because of that, people often said that I grew up in the tea garden. In the daytime, my mother picked tea leaves while carrying a shoulder pole with a bamboo crate on one side and a basket on the other side. On the way back home in the evening, it was tea on one side and me on the other, so I have some especially deep feelings for tea.
The full name of Qimen black tea is Qimen Congou black tea and the best are the tea shoots which are picked around the Qingming Festival. The refined Qimen black tea has continued its traditional handmade arts till now.
For the rough processing, the first step is withering, slowly letting the water in the tea leaves evaporate. The second step is rolling, which must be done meticulously and generally takes at least one hour. During the rolling, fermentation would start inside because of the increase in temperature. This process allowed the fermentation to progress gradually.
The standard Qimen black tea has a stripe shape. It is fine, even and beautiful, with a black color. When steeped, the tea becomes a wine-red color with a bright golden line around the cup wall. Qimen black tea has a lasting fragrance and its uniqueness has branded a special term called "Qimen fragrance."
Qimen black tea is described as the flower inside the fragrance.It is different from other teas because it contains various kinds of fragrances. In the past, many experts who tasted Qimen black tea described it in a variety of different ways. Some said there was orchid fragrance in it, some said flowers and fruits fragrance, and also some said a kind of honey-sugar fragrance. Later on, they termed this Qimen fragrance.
Qimen Black Tea, Ukraine Black Tea of Sri Lanka and Darjeeling Black Tea of India are known as the three world famous black teas. Qimen black tea got the Gold Award in Panama World Fair in 1915 for its unique fragrance and since then it was promoted to first place of the famous black teas, enjoying a widespread reputation. In the Europe, Qimen black tea was regarded as a treasure, beloved by the noble and royal, and taken as an sign of entitlement by celebrities. In China, it has always been a national gift for other countries.