A classic Chinese black tea with a nutty aroma
“Normal tea! I just want Normal Tea! Give me Normal Tea or I’m stealing the tip jar!” This plaintive cry of so many a luckless traveller in Lee Rosy’s is a strange thing, because the ‘normal’ tea of everyday Britons has frequently changed down the ages. When tea first arrived in Britain many centuries ago it was all green tea. Nowadays, ‘normal tea’ would be a stingy tea bag containing some blend of Indian, Sri Lankan or African black tea dust. But at the height of Victorian pomp, in our proudest days as a tea-drinking nation, Keemun tea was the drink of the masses.
Mellower than English Breakfast blends and with a smooth, nutty flavour, Keemun tea is also one of the “10 famous teas of China”. Raise the subject of fine teas with a Chinese person and they might well mention these “10 famous teas”. Basically, if we were playing tea top trumps, you would have to pull one of your very best cards to compete with these teas. They are like an old kung fu film where the hero is taught about the unbeatable “8 great schools” or the “36 chambers”. The quality is undeniable, and in days gone by, these teas were given as tribute to the emperor.
Nowadays, these famous varieties are not necessarily the rarest or most expensive teas around, and the line-up may change a bit according to whom you ask. But the ten teas as a set always represent the unmatched variety of China tea – and Keemun is always a fixture on the list. So if you are a black tea drinker who has not yet tried Keemun or Yunnan (another renowned black tea from China with a slightly earthier flavour), we recommend them very highly. And then we can all stop pretending to be normal.