Tai Ping Hou Kui is one of the most famous green tea in China. It is a reputable tea with long history dating back to Qing Dynasty. It is grown at the foot at Huangshan City of Anhui Province in China. The best Tai Ping Hou Kui is produced in the villages of Houkeng, Hougang and Yanjiachun.
Characteristics of Hou Kui
It is easy to be recognized for its unique beautiful appearance – two tea leaves covering the bud, the leaves are flat and the bud is straight, naturally stretching. The body is covered with white hairs. The leaf color is pale green, the bud is green with red veins underneath, barely visible. The tea leaves can be as long as 15 centimeters (5.9 in) and is the largest sized leaf tea among the famous green teas.
Despite its large leaf, it has a very fragrant orchid delicate flavor and a sweet mellow lasting taste. The taste is just like its appearance, elegant and premium, which in China people give the special taste a beautiful name Hou Yun, meaning the charm of Hou Kui.
Hou Kui’s Production Process
The quantity of Hou Kui on the market is less comparing with other green teas because of its unique cultivar and handmade process. It is made from the Shi Da cultivar, a large-leaf variety found only in Anhui Province.
The production process is also sophisticated.
- Plucking: The tea farmers plucked fresh leaves from the Shi Da cultivar around the time of Guyu and sent to picking process.
- Picking: Pick the top delicate part with one bud and two leaves only.
- Pan frying: Fry the leaves in a metal pan at around 110℃. It takes around 3 minutes for every 100g tea leaves.
- Heating: There are 3 rounds of heating process to dry out the leaves and get the required shape.
Sometimes consumers are easy to confuse Hou Kui with another tea called Tai Ping Bu Jian, for their likeness in their appearance.
Despite the similarity in appearance and name, Bu Jian is not the same level tea as Hou Kui, nor is its taste comparable with Hou Kui.
As shown in the image above, the left side is Tai Ping Bu Jian. Bu Jian is machine-made, so it is thinner and wider than Hou Kui. And the color of Bu Jian is usually more shinny green.
How to brew Hou Kui?
We recommend to brew Hou Kui in a tall straight glass cup, so we can better observe its appearance in the water.
- Warm the cup with boiling water.
- Put the tea leaves into the cup. The head should be up. For every 100ml water, put 2g Hou Kui.
- Pour 90℃ water to cover the stem about 2cm.
- Then pour water along the wall of cup until all leaves are covered with water.
- Wait around 2 minutes and start drinking.
- Add 30s to each infusion.
How to store Hou Kui?
Store the tea in the fridge. You should first put the tea in a dry, and sealable container before putting the tea into the fridge. The temperature of the freezer is best adjusted to below 5℃.