– Shifu, what is that captivating fragrance? At first, I thought you were brewing tea, but it feels as if all the orchids in the garden suddenly burst into bloom beneath your window.
– Have you ever tasted this tea, my young friend? It is called Tai Ping Hou Kui - a tea that conceals the essence of delicate orchid flowers within its heart.
Legend tells a tale of a lost monkey that ventured out to find its missing baby and never returned. Months later, a kind-hearted man discovered the monkey's lifeless body high up in the mountains and gave it a proper burial. A fragrant tree sprouted from that very spot the following year, and the man harvested its leaves to create a unique tea. He named it "The Monkey Chief from Tai Ping."
Tai Ping Hou Kui (太平猴魁) is a remarkable tea variety from Anhui Province, China. Nestled in the Huangshan District, this tea thrives 700 meters above sea level.
The leaves of Taiping Houkui adhere to a stringent picking standard, ensuring the utmost quality. Only the finest one bud with two leaves, measuring 5 to 9cm in length, are carefully selected to create this exceptional tea.
When steeped, Taiping Houkui unveils a gentle aroma reminiscent of delicate orchids. Its flavor harmoniously balances light sweetness with invigorating briskness, leaving a subtle and pleasing aftertaste. The essence of orchids lingers on the surface of the empty cup, adding a refined touch to the tea's character.
Our Tai Ping Hou Kui originates from the heart of its production area in the village of Hou Keng. Crafted by the experienced tea master Hong Xing Ye, using the Shi Da Shu (柿大树) cultivar with exceptionally large leaves, this tea embodies centuries of tradition. Following time-honored techniques, Hong Xing Ye shapes each Hou Kui leaf by hand, employing the "Niejian" (捏尖) method. This artisanal approach preserves the delicate aroma and flavors, creating a more captivating and aromatic tea experience.
The production process behind Taiping Hou Kui is meticulous, shaping its exceptional character. Plucking commences in the Spring, around the Gu Yu period when the tea buds reach their ideal length of 8-10cm. The leaves then undergo meticulous tip selection and a gentle withering process.
Crucially, the fixation process involves placing the leaves in a wok at approximately 110℃ for 2-3 minutes. This carefully controlled step imparts a delicate green hue to the leaves. Next comes the skilled shaping, as tea producers meticulously shape each leaf into long, centralized pieces, creating the iconic grid-like lines that adorn the tea.
The tea further refines its character through a three-stage roasting process. The initial roasting, at temperatures of 70-100℃, dries the leaves to around 70% before allowing them to cool. At approximately 70℃, the second roasting continues the drying process until the leaves reach 90% dryness, followed by another cooling phase. Finally, the third and last roasting, at around 60℃, ensures complete dryness before the leaves are given their final cooling.
Combining traditional craftsmanship, meticulous processing, and the region's unique terroir, our Monkey King Tea captures the essence of Spring. With its delicate balance of floral and refreshing flavors and a captivating aroma that fills each cup, this remarkable tea invites you to immerse yourself in the artistry and tradition that has made Tai Ping Hou Kui a cherished and revered Chinese tea.
• Opt for brewing this tea in a tall glass (the "grandpa-style") to enjoy the splendid qualities of this exceptional tea.
• And here is a video explaining how to brew Taiping Houkui Gong Fu style
175℉ / 80℃
1g per 60ml 3-5min
1g per 25ml 5sec + 5sec for each subsequent infusion
This tea is a smooth taste of spring, if the season was in liquid form. 😁
Very nice, well-balanced tea. It's not an easy-to-find tea and if you are looking for Taiping Houkui of good quality, this is it.
I have been dealing with the TEAm for a couple of years now and they have always delivered. Misha let me know that he had a couple of nice green teas coming in and suggested that I also try the Monkey King. I found that it had a pleasant aroma and a very nice taste. It gave me a pleasant tea energy and I found out that it is supposed to be good for the heart and clear the mind. It's not overpowering but more subtle. Good selection especially for the summer.
I fell in love with this tea in the early 2000's, when I was living and working in China. But since I moved back to the US, I couldn't find decent houkui. I tried this tea from many different vendors but the taste was either too metallic or too weak, not to mention high prices. This houkui is not cheap either but, in my opinion, tea of this quality is worth every penny. This houkui is very fresh, smooth, and sweet, with pleasant sourish notes. At first, I purchased only 25g to test it, but here I am, back a week later, to place a new order for more of this excellent tea.
Thank you, Misha & TEAm for restoring my faith!:)