What Is Keemun Tea? Explained

China is renowned for its assortment of wonderful teas with beneficial properties, but none can compare to Keemun tea. What is Keemun tea, and should you give it a taste? 

A cup of black tea with Keemun dried leaves - What is Keemun tea
Keemun is a Chinese black tea

Black tea is probably the most well-known type of tea in the world. Nothing can compare to its rich, sharp aroma and earthy, malty flavor. So, if you’re a true tea enthusiast, black tea is likely in your top five favorite teas of all time. 

But, of course, there isn’t just one type of this black goodness. There are dozens of blends and varieties, though none are as popular as Keemun, the beloved Chinese black tea. 

While China has a long history of tea drinking, spanning about 5,000 years, Keemun is a relative newcomer to the scene, first produced in the 19th century. Don’t be fooled by its age, however. It’s just as creamy and delicious as any other black tea variety, if not even more so.

Learn more about this godly beverage and find the complete answer to the question: “What is Keemun tea?”. 

Keemun tea – Origin and Varieties 

As mentioned, Keemun is a variety of Chinese black tea produced in the Qimen county in the Anhui province. You can probably guess that the name is a simplified English spelling of its place of origin. 

The tea comes from an evergreen shrub known as Camellia sinensis, the same shrub that’s most commonly used for producing green tea. That’s what makes Keemun so different from other black teas. It’s much softer, sweeter, and smoother. 


Depending on the parts of the plant used and the time of harvest, Keemun tea can have a few different varieties, including : 

  • Keemun Gongfu; 
  • Keemun Hao Ya; 
  • Keemun Mao Feng; 
  • Keemun Xin Ya

While all these varieties share similar notes, you’ll notice that some are more chocolatey and others more bitter with hints of cocoa. 

The Intense Flavor and Aroma of Keemun Tea 

Speaking of the chocolatey and cocoa notes, if you’ve never tried Keemun tea, you’re likely wondering what it tastes like. “Complex” is the first word that comes to mind. 

Keemun tea is known for its rich, smooth body that’s just a bit malty, just a bit floral. Depending on how well you brew it, you might liken it to the flavor profile of burgundy wine. 

Keemun is generally much lighter and sweeter compared to other black tea varieties. It’s not nearly as overpowering as some other options, but it will still fill your room with a pleasant, warm aroma as soon as you start brewing it. 

The Unique Benefits of Keemun Tea 

Keemun tea leaves
Keemun tea offers a wide array of benefits

While its delicious flavor is more than enough reason to brew yourself a cup of Keemun tea on a cold winter morning, you should also know that this tea boasts an array of unique benefits. 

High Levels of Caffeine Boost Energy Levels 

Like any black tea, Keemun has high levels of caffeine, anywhere up to 40 milligrams, making it the perfect breakfast tea. It will give you a boost of energy better than any regular old cup of Joe, so if you’re having problems staying awake in the morning, this is just the tea for you.

Its Antioxidant Properties Offer a Host of Health Benefits 

Keemun has powerful antioxidant properties, which are known for their beneficial effects. Antioxidants can protect your cells from damage, remove free radicals from your body, and lower your risks from numerous chronic conditions. 

L-Theanine in Keemun Can Help Improve Your Concentration

Besides having high concentrations of caffeine, Keemun also boasts high levels of the amino acid known as L-theanine.

A boy intensely concentrating
L-theanine is present in Keemun which promotes calmness and relaxation

L-theanine promotes calmness and relaxation and boosts alpha activity in your brain, helping you improve mental concentration after just a few sips. This amino acid plays well together with caffeine, boosting your energy and increasing your focus without making you feel anxious and jittery. 

Keemun Tea Flavonoids Can Improve Heart Health 

Flavonoids are natural metabolites found in every plant, responsible for giving the plant its color, protecting it from UV rays, and defending it from damage. They’re also beneficial to humans as they’re known for their effects on cardiovascular health. 

Being packed with flavonoids, Keemun could reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels while also positively affecting your heart’s health. 

Brewing Your Perfect Cup of Keemun Tea 

If you want to enjoy all the aforementioned benefits of Keemun tea, you need to know how to brew your perfect cup. 

Keemun responds well to long brews, so you can maximize its flavor and aroma by taking it through two or even three brews. 

Start by taking a heaping spoon of loose Keemun and steeping it in hot water for a minute. Steep it a second time for two minutes and a third time for three minutes to make the flavor more intense. 

Add as much milk, sweeteners, or lemon as you’d like, and enjoy your perfect cup of Keemun tea.


  • Cian Murray

    Cian Murray is an experienced writer and editor, who graduated from Cardiff University’s esteemed School of Journalism, Media and Culture. His work has been featured in both local and national media, and he has also produced content for multinational brands and agencies. Find Cian on muckrack.com.