The World Is a Tea Party Presents: Your Guide to Some Teas of China – Taiping Hou Kui Green Tea

More About Taiping Hou Kui
(Monkey King, 猴魁茶)

Taiping Hou Kui is one of the most interesting green teas from China, as far as we are concerned.

Click on each photo for details:


Qing Dynasty A historically famous tea, first made in Qing Dynasty in Anhui Province. It belongs to the rare group of tea, i.e., the sharp-shaped green tea (尖茶 Jian-cha). It is said that the production of sharp-shaped tea (尖茶Jian-cha) bloomed during this dynasty. Taiping County, at that time, was one of the main producing areas and had a tea trading center in it. People would produce Jian-cha with leaves in various size and containing a lot of old leaves.
Later Later on, some people started to select the dried leaves which contain only one bud with 1-2 leaves from the finished product and then sold it. This selected tea was appreciated and sold at a higher price. This inspired a farmer named Wang Kui-Cheng (王魁成) to begin producing the tea only using fresh leaves which contain one bud with 1-2 leaves rather than selecting the dried leaves afterwards. His tea was highly praised and in demand. His tea was of best quality (in Chinese, “1” is 魁首 Kui-shou), his name is Kui-Cheng (魁成), and it was produced at Hou-keng (猴坑) area, so it was named Taiping Hou Kui.
1900 Hou Kui tea was brought to the government sponsored agricultural and commercial exhibition at Nanjing (南京); it was highly praised and became a renowned tea in China.
1915 Hou Kui tea won the gold prize in the Expo held in Panama.
1955 Hou Kui tea was selected as one of the Top Ten Teas in China.
1988 At the First China Food Expo, Hou Kui tea won the gold prize.
2004 Hou kui tea received the highest honor prize (The King of Tea) at the China International Tea Expo held at Wuhu City of Anhui Province.
2007 Presented to Russian President Putin as a national gift by Chinese President Hu Jingtao during his visit to Russia; the tea won Mr. Putin’s great acclaim.
Today Hou Kui Tea continues as one of the most sought-after teas in China and is often presented to foreign dignitaries.

Production Process

Pan Frying
1st Heating
2nd Heating
3rd Heating

Click on each photo for details of the major steps:

Authentic vs. Poor Quality Hou Kui Tea

Factor Authentic Hou Kui Poor Quality Hou Kui
Leaf shape
  • Fleshy, robust, straight with tips.
  • Consists only of twigs of one bud with two leaves.
  • Single leaf without bud.
  • Is hou jian (猴尖), hou kui, and consists of 3rd and/or 4th leaves left after selecting leaves for hou kui tea.
  • Always mixed with broad leaves, sometimes “chopped” and no tips.
  • Often over-pressed, twisted out of natural shape.
Leaf color
  • Pale green, even, bright, lustrous.
  • Covered with fine white down that is close to the leaf and not easily seen until it unfurls during infusion.
  • Either very light shiny green or dark green.
  • Lots of down that is outstretched and clearly seen before infusion.
Consistency of dry leaves
  • Regular shape.
  • Whole twig form with attached bud and leaves.
  • Broken leaves, various sizes and shapes.
  • Contains crushed and separate leaves.
  • Mix of yellowish green or dark green color.
Cleanliness of dry leaves
  • No fiber, bamboo bits, wooden flakes, sand, stone, dust, or other extraneous matter.
  • Many contain extraneous matter.
Liquid aroma and flavor
  • Sweet, mellow, refreshing taste.
  • Long-lasting orchid aroma.
Liquid Appearance
  • Bright, clear, transparent.
  • Very light yellowish green color.
Leaves after infusing
  • Fresh, bright and green.
  • When touched with your finger, leaves are thick, soft, elastic.
  • Thin red line at main leaf vein, indicating made from authentic cultivar.
  • Dark green with dull appearance.
  • When touched, leaves are thin, stiff.

See also: The Tea Provinces of China

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