The tea is a type of baked green tea produced around Houkeng, Houcun and Hougang in Taiping County, Huangshan City, Anhui Province. While brewing in vintage tea sets, the dried leaves bloom into full leaves and buds displaying a dark red central vein. The harvesting is relatively late, usually beginning around the Grain Rain (20th day of the 4th month of the lunar year). The processing involves deactivation and desiccation. The deactivated leaves are spread on bamboo sheets and baked in baking baskets, (the primary baking); after 60-70% of the moisture content is lost, the leaves are removed from the baskets and spread for cooling for approximately 2 hours. They are again baked in the baskets till 80-90% of the moisture content is lost, then cooled once again. Finally, it is baked completely dry. The Tai Ping Hou Kui Tea features a straight and heavy appearance with two sides of the leaves embracing one hidden bud, gray-green color, rich fuzz, strong and lasting fragrance, mellow taste and sweet aftertaste, verdurous liquid and evenly settled bright tea leaves.
According to legend, long ago, there lived an old white monkey couple in Mt. Huangshan. One day, one of their sons was lost. Searching for him, they became exhausted and fell down in the mountains. Wang Lao’er, found them and brought them home. He cured them with herbs. The couple was so grateful that they decided to stay and help Wang Lao’er. The tea produced here was called Hou tea (literally “Monkey tea”) or Hou Jian tea (“Monkey tea buds”). The quality of the tea was excellent, especially the variety processed by Wang Lao’er. It was distinguished as Hou Kui tea or Kui Jian (literally Kui meaning “champion”) for its superior quality.
Tai Ping Hou Kui tea has three grades: Hou Kui, Hou Jian and Jian Cha.
To brew Tai Ping Hou Kui, apply the middle- or bottom-brewing method. Ceramic cups work better. The tea leaves are long. Deep cups are preferred.
The tea is characterized by high fragrance in the first brew, strong taste in the second brew and light fragrance in the third and fourth brews.