Chun Mee Tea

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Who would’ve thought that a leaf from a single plant would become the basis of one of the world’s most consumed drinks? Thanks to that plant, we now have hundreds of different teas with different names under separate categories. And if you’ve seen the name “Chun Mee” or “Chun Mei” around, you’ve probably wondered what that is.

Chun Mee tea is a type of green tea from China. Its name translates to “Precious Eyebrows” due to its long and curved appearance, similar to an eyebrow. The brew can be slightly tangy, smoky, nutty, and sometimes astringent but with a hint of sweetness.

Now that we know what Chun Mee tea is, let’s learn more about its origins, how to brew it, and its overall quality.

Where Did It Come From?

Chun Mee tea, sometimes spelled as “Chun Mei”, comes from the Camellia sinensis plant cultivated in China’s Anhui, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces. In fact, the Tea Board of Anhui Province claims that Chun Mee is a direct descendant of their namesake tea, the Anhui green tea.

While Chun Mee is also a popular tea in China, it’s not as well-known worldwide as Gunpowder tea, another kind of green tea. You may also encounter versions of this tea from other tea-producing countries such as Vietnam. Though not exactly the same, the appearance and taste will be similar to the Chinese Chun Mee.

What Does It Taste Like? How To Improve the Taste?

Because Chun Mee is a green tea, it has a crisp, full-bodied flavor that can sometimes make your mouth feel dry. That drying sensation is called astringency and can be associated with bitterness from tea. Aside from that, the tea also has hints of sweetness, nuttiness, and a mild hint of smokiness.

If you find the tea slightly astringent, avoid that either by using fewer tea leaves or a lower water temperature. If you’re using a brewing filter, you can make the taste a bit milder by pouring hot water into your teapot or mug first and then submerging the tea leaves afterwards. Doing so avoids scalding the leaves as you pour the hot water.

Not a fan of smoky or nutty hints? Add a drop of honey or lemon to the brew to mask the flavor. You can add some milk if you want to tame an otherwise strong flavor profile.

How To Brew It?

Brewing green tea requires you to be slightly more careful with the amount of tea leaves you use and the water temperature. That’s because green tea is barely oxidized; they’re simply pan-fried to draw the moisture out of the leaves. They’re as green as you can get them, and they’re susceptible to scalding.

For a 12-ounce mug or pot, use anywhere between 4.5 to 6 grams of leaves, depending on your preferred strength. Heat your water up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius), then pour it into your container. Submerge the tea leaves afterwards and let it brew for about 2 – 2.5 minutes.

The strength of your tea will depend on how much leaves you use and how long your brewing time is. To experience its full flavor, use more leaves but shorten the brewing time. If you want a milder cup, use a bit less but leave it brewing for the same amount of time as usual.

How Much Caffeine Does It Contain?

Just as with any tea, Chun Mee tea does not have a lot of caffeine. An eight-ounce brew contains about 30-50 milligrams of caffeine, depending on how long it was brewing and how hot the water was. That figure will likely be less if you brew your tea with cooler water and a shorter steep time.

Compare that, however, to the caffeine content of coffee. An eight-ounce mug of coffee contains about 80-100 milligrams of caffeine, which is at least twice as much as green tea. It would take you two to three cups of green tea before it can match a coffee’s caffeine content.

How Many Carbs Does It Contain?

When brewed on its own, Chun Mee tea contains a trace amount of carbs that it may as well not have any. It’s only an infusion of tea leaves in hot water, so it doesn’t contain any starch. If you’re on a carb-restricted or carb-conscious diet, drinking Chun Mee tea alone shouldn’t pose any problems.

How Many Calories Does It Contain?

Unless you add honey or sugar to the brew, Chun Mee tea has barely any calories. An eight-ounce brew contains about two calories, which is negligible. You’d have to drink hundreds of ounces before the calorie count affects your recommended daily limits.

However, additives such as milk, honey, or sugar can add calories to your drink. If you’re on a strict calorie restriction, try to drink the tea as is so it wouldn’t interfere with your daily budget. And instead of relying on premade green tea from bottles or shops, brew it yourself at home to be sure it’s free of other additives.

How Long Does It Last?

An airtight bag of loose Chun Mee tea leaves should last a year before it loses its “freshly picked” quality. Exposure to air and direct light affects the tea leaves, so try to keep them stored in a dark, airtight container.

If you have a sealed bag of Chun Mee leaves, make sure it’s not several years old. While aged tea is a thing (and properly aged tea can taste good), improperly stored tea can end up tasting stale instead. Always use older tea at home to prevent them from going stale, and don’t buy more than you can consume in a year.