Taiping Houkui (太平猴魁)

Name Tàipíng hóu kuí / 太平猴魁
English Monkey King
Region Taiping Village, Anhui
Manufacture Pan-fried & Basket-fried
Style Flat, Needle leaf
Flavor Earthy, rich, vegetal
Aroma Toasty
Liquor Deep straw
Brewing Brew two or three 2-minute infusions at 70-80C. Gradually increase steeping time and temperature for subsequent brewing.

Taiping Houkui, or Monkey King, is a popular tea both inside and outside of China. It is a ‘dramatic’ green tea with very large tea leaves that can be as long as 15cm long.
Much of this tea’s popularity outside of China was originally due to the fact in won a Gold Medal at the Panama Pacific Exhibition (held in order to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal) which was held in San Francisco in 1915 (this tea first hit the market in 1900). Inside China, this tea was award the 茶王 (king of tea) prize at the 2004 China International Tea Expo held in Anhui.

Personally, I found Taiping Houkui a nice compliment to the other great Anhui teas (Maofeng, Liuan Guapian, Qimen Hongcha, etc.) that I have already discovered on this Taobao Tea Trail. This tea should definitely be sampled just to see the size of the tea leaves alone!

More Information (from Baidu Baike):

Taiping houkui is a type of green tea native to the regions near Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province. The tea leaves are strikingly long, around 5cm and lean. They are very flat and straight as well. The color is a darker green with a very subtle red hue. When brewed, the liquid is a light and clear green. The tea leaves become larger, almost like a flower petal. Taiping houkui has a very pleasant aromoa that is mellow and reminiscent of orchirds, making it a very soothing tea.

Like many kinds of teas, Taiping houkui has undergone evolution in its production process. The current techniques result in teas that look beautiful, with evenly sized long flat leaves. However, the aroma is weaker compared to teas made using the old techniques. Taiping houkui produced using the old techniques often lacks the aesthetic consistency, because the leaves tend to be of varying sizes and slightly different shapes.

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