What is Taiping Hou Kui Tea?
Taiping Hou Kui, or Tai Ping Hou Kui, is a kind of green tea from the former Taiping Prefecture, Huangshan, Anhui Province China. It has been grown since the Ming Dynasty and was harvested for emperors during the Qing Dynasty. The leaves are commonly rather long and flattened compared to most other green teas and always with a dark green color.
Characteristics of Taiping Hou Kui
Taiping Hou Kui is known for the contrast between his rough appearance and his fresh and sweet taste.
Specifically, its shape is flat and straight, strong and sturdy, two leaves hold a bud, part of the main veins are dark red; the tea soup color is soft green and bright; the aroma is fresh and high, with a persistent orchid fragrance.
Taiping Hou Kui Production Processes
During Spring, usually around Gu Yu period when the tea buds grow to one bud with three leaves, farmers will start tea plucking. The standard for Taiping Hou Kui tea leaves is one bud with two leaves with a length normally from 8-10cm.
2. Tip Selecting
The process of “tip selecting” is to pick out those unqualified tea leaves that are either too short or too long, it is also the process of withering the fresh leaves. Withering the tea leaves is the preparation for the next step: tea fixation.
The temperature of the teapot should be about 110℃ during the tea fixation, and the amount of leaves to be thrown in each pot should be 75-100g. The fixation process will last for around 2-3 minutes. The fixated tea leaves should be tender green and straight.
The authentic Taiping Hou Kui is manually shaped via bare hands, producers will hand shape the leaves into a long and centralized piece and then put them on a piece of wet sackcloth, and then use a tool to roll over the leaves to press the leaves. This is where the grid-like lines come from.
There are three stages of roasting for Taiping Hou Kui.
The first roasting uses around 70-100 ℃ temperature, put the tea leaves in the tea roasting oven and roast until the tea leaves are 70% dried, then cool down the leaves.
The second roasting uses around 70 ℃ temperature, roast until the tea leaves are 90% dried, then cool down the leaves.
The final roasting uses around 60 ℃ temperature, roast until the tea leaves are fully dried, then cool down the leaves.