The tea soup of Jiu Qu Hong Mei is bright and red like red plum, so it is called Jiu Qu Hong Mei. Jiu Qu meaning “twists and turns” is the name of a creek; Hong means “red”; Mei means “plum”.
Jiu Qu Hong Mei is the only black tea among 28 famous teas in Zhejiang Province. Jiu Qu Hong Mei and Longjing tea are called “one green and one red” or “emerald (Longjing tea) and agate (Jiu Qu Hong Mei)”.
1. History of Jiu Qu Hong Mei
Jiu Qu Hong Mei tea has a history of nearly 200 years. It became famous more than 100 years ago. As early as 1886, it won the gold medal of Panama world expo.
Theoretically, Jiu Qu Hong Mei originated from Jiu Qu Creek in Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province, which is rich in black tea. In the 1850s, some tea farmers of Wuyi Mountain migrated to Zhejiang Province.
When they settled around West Lake, they began to grow tea and make tea. Because they are good at making black tea, Jiu Qu Hong Mei was born.
In order to commemorate their hometown, where there is a creek called Jiu Qu Creek, and because the color of the tea soup is similar to that of red plum, they named it Jiu Qu Hong Mei. Later, Jiu Qu Hong Mei became very famous in Hangzhou City and was favored by tea merchants.
But unfortunately, with the outbreak of the war later, the tea garden was deserted and Jiu Qu Hong Mei began to decline. After the 1960s, as China’s economy began to recover, local farmers began to organize to restore the tea garden and the production of Jiu Qu Hong Mei began to recover gradually.
The local government attaches great importance to tea production. While registering the trademark of “Jiu Qu Hong Mei” in 2000, it has also expanded its influence by holding competitions, participating in the evaluation, and media promotion, which make Jiu Qu Hong Mei develop rapidly.
2. Characteristics of Jiu Qu Hong Mei
Jiu Qu Hong Mei mainly grows in the towns and mountains around the West Lake. There is a warm, humid, and foggy climate, which is very suitable for the growth of tea trees.
The sandy soil is deep and fertile, with good permeability. This unique ecological environment is very conducive to the formation and accumulation of amino acids, proteins, and aromatics in tea.
The picking time of Jiu Qu Hong Mei is around the Grain Rain (April 19-21). It is made by fixation (deactivation of enzymes), rolling, fermentation, and drying (baking).
The shape of the finished Jiu Qu Hong Mei is thin, tight, and curled like a fishhook and the color of it is red-brown. After brewing, it has a strong fragrance which is similar to that of orchid, honey, or pine soot.
The tea soup is very bright and red like that color of red plum and it tastes smooth and mellow. The color of the brewed tea leaves is brown.
There is a famous rose tea called Jiu Qu rose black tea, which is made by mixing Jiu Qu Hong Mei and rose. It is very suitable for women to drink.
3. Health benefits of Jiu Qu Hong Mei
Jiu Qu Hong Mei is a kind of black tea, which is a fermented tea and rich in theaflavins and thearubigins. Theaflavins have effects on preventing cardiovascular disease and reducing blood lipids. Thearubigins have an effect on anti-oxidation.
Besides, Jiu Qu Hong Mei is rich in amino acids, proteins, trace elements, and vitamins, which have many health benefits.
Here are the main benefits of Jiu Qu Hong Mei:
- Nourishing stomach
- Reducing blood lipid
- Inhibiting cardiovascular disease
- Anti-inflammation and sterilization