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Tai Ping Hou Qui

Region: Taiping county, Anhui province, China

Other Names: Monkey tea, Tai Ping Hou Kwei, Monkey King, Monkey Chief, Taiping Hou Kui, Hou Kui tea

Tai Ping Hou Kui gained its fame at the beginning of the 20th century.  As the story goes, the agent in charge of purchasing tea for the Ye Chang Cun Tea Store in Nanjing city, which in the past had purchased Jian Cha from the neighboring Hou Keng area, discovered a much higher quality ‘Kui Tea’ in Tai Ping County.

The store contracted with a local tea farmer, Wang Kui Cheng, to select, process and refine the tea that grew on a mountain in Hou Keng, and then to package it in tin cans and ship it to the Nanjing tea store. This tea gained immense popularity in Nanjing city, selling for extremely high prices due to its delicate, large leaf, flat sword appearance, its lasting aroma and brisk taste. 

Processing was very limited and the leaves were only harvested during the spring season in the Hou Keng area.  In a short time, the tea’s popularity spread and was treasured everywhere.  The Kui Cha that originates in the Hou Keng area is called Hou Kui (other areas the same type tea is usually called Kui Jian). The tea has a unique pretty green color, long fuzzy tea leaves, highly fragrant aroma and a sweet aftertaste.  The tea is still very tasty after multiple infusions.

Tai Ping Hou Kui won the gold medal in 1915 at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco and became one of China’s Ten Most Famous Teas in 1955.  

Tai Ping Hou Kui is often presented as one of China’s special agricultural products to VIPs and foreign dignitaries, and it was presented to President Nixon by the Chinese government in 1972 on his first visit to China.  The tea recently won the "King of Tea" award at the China Tea Exhibition in 2004.