Tai Ping Hou Kui really is unique. This tea, which is also known as Monkey King, is one of China's ten famous teas. Tai Ping Hou Kui is from the Anhui Province and it has been being produced as early as the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). As well as having a very interesting and complex flavour this tea is aesthetically stunning. When Tai Ping Hou Kui is infused, the tea leaves elegantly sway in the water, which is now called the "Phoenix Dance". Hou Kui (猴魁) means the Monkey King and the legend behind the name of Tai Ping Hou Kui has it that after losing his son, the Monkey King died in the mountainous area of Anhui. A farmer whom stumbled across Monkey Kings body buried him exactly where he lay and in the next spring, tea plants began to sprout. Legend has it that the sprouted tea plants were a gift from the Monkey King as a reward for the farmers good will. The farmer looked after the tea plants and developed a unique method of processing the tea which has resulted in these sharp, long tea leaves.
Tai Ping Hou Kui is harvested from the Shi Da Cha, which is a large leafed varietal of the tea plant, only found in the Anhui Province. During harvesting one bud and three or four leaves are plucked from the tea plant. When the tea leaves have been brought back to the factory the tea is plucked again, leaving only one bud and two leaves. Unusually for green teas, Tai Ping Hou Kui does not undergo any rolling processes and is typically dried immediately at once using a series of bamboo baskets which have been heated at various temperatures. The flavour is enhanced and developed during this unique way of processing the tea, which eventually leaves Tai Ping Hou Kui in it's most natural shape.
Tai Ping Hou Kui is cultivated near three villages, Hou-keng, Hou-cun and Yan-jia. The tea gardens lie in the beautiful mountainous area around these villages where the land is full of nutrients and minerals. At these high elevations there is a large variance between the day and night time temperatures. The combination of this high altitude, strong sunlight and foggy conditions allows amino acids to be developed in the tea leaf which gives the tea a mellow and sweet taste with some subtle floral tones.
Tai Ping Hou Kui is now available in sample size, 20g or 100g sizes and we are also serving it in our Edinburgh tea bar.
1. Heat water to 70-80°C.
2. Preheat teapot and cups.
3. Use 3g of tea (1 dessert spoon) of tea per 200ml of water.
4. Infuse for 3 minutes, then pour out completely.
5. Can be infused at least 4 times.
With the hot weather at the end of June, I have been experimenting with iced tea. Using our Peach Sencha, some freshly grated ginger and some cloudy lemonade I made this really refreshing drink.
It's really easy to make and a great alternative to alcoholic cocktails.