Jin Jun Mei Black Tea

Tea type
Black Tea
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Bitter, Thick, Bread, Cinnamon, Creamy, Honey, Jasmine, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Mint, Moss, Mushrooms, Nutmeg, Peppercorn, Smooth, Vanilla, Wood, Yeast, Meat, Sweet Potatoes
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Edit tea info Last updated by Dinosara
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 4 oz / 125 ml

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15 Tasting Notes View all

From Verdant Tea (Special)

Until we met Fujian native Wang Huimin, most Jin Jun Mei we tried seemed just OK. Very sweet and enjoyable to be sure, but nothing worth the hefty price. Luckily, Wang Huimin gets to hike the rocky Wuyi Mountains every few weeks. As a child she would visit the temples, but now she is there for the Jin Jun Mei and the Wuyi Oolongs.

Because Jin Jun Mei is such an expensive tea, it is a rather insular world. Even with our experience and Chinese language, it takes an introduction from a Fujian native for us to get to source this intriguing Jin Jun Mei. We will be visiting Wuyi on April 19-23 to get photos and interviews, so keep an eye out.

The most prominent aromas and flavors of this tea are centered around the theme of roasted sweet potato. It brings back memories of living in China and stopping in the countryside where a farmer roasted sweet potatoes in a metal drum. The smell as you stood in line on a crisp morning is the taste experience of this tea.

The aftertaste and texture of this tea perfectly exemplify the Jin Jun Mei ideal, with sweet velvety honey flavor and creamy texture lingering on the tongue.

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15 Tasting Notes

3294 tasting notes

I need to start drinking the teas from the Verdant Reserve box!! So today, I’ll go with this one, from April. I love Fujian teas, without a doubt! I also love Jin Jun Mei especially, with several in my collection now. Is it any surprise that I also love sweet potatoes? I eat (at least) one almost every day. I grow large quantities of them in my garden, I have some growing in a planter in my sunroom, & I also buy a lot of them when I run out of the homegrown ones. Everyone in my house loves them: baked, diced & fried in coconut oil, spiralized & dropped into soup as ‘noodles’ (especially nice in coconut milk curry…sigh…). There is nothing more wonderful than a leftover baked sweet potato, sauteed/caramelized in coconut oil with cinnamon, ginger, etc. It’s the best dessert I know. Add a drizzle of coconut milk keifer…sigh…

I love sweet potatoes, so I love Jin Jun Mei, with it’s earthy sweet potato aroma & flavor, a little peppery-ness in the later brews, & in this case, a little bitter undertaste, but I don’t mind that at all. I’ve been steeping this since I got out of the tub, first while making my lunch, & now for dessert. The later steepings are like boston brown bread, rich with a molasses taste!

I can’t really say if it’s any more amazing than the other Jin Jun Mei(s) in my cupboard, but it seems to resteep forever, & it is delicious.


Wow, you grow sweet potatoes too! That leftover sweet potato recipe sounds so delicious yet simple – I’ll have to do that!

Smiles.. you should start growing a rhubarb plant though! ;-)


Sounds great! :D

Terri HarpLady

Caile, maybe this year I’ll plant some rhubarb :)


DOOO EEET!!!!!!!!

Terri HarpLady

I’ll look into it!

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2201 tasting notes

It’s going to be one of those mornings. I couldn’t fall asleep for a little while last night, so this morning I am exhausted. I had a bowl of matcha, and then, because I was waiting a bit around the house this morning, I decided to break into one of the reserve club black teas I have. Brewed western style, of course (I don’t have the energy for gongfu in the morning, especially not this morning), which seemed ok to me since I knew it would be a black tea. First I thought of having the Qimen (keemun), but I sniffed it and it smelled smoky and keemun-y to me in a way that was not appealing. Perhaps another time. This one, however, smelled honeyed and perhaps a hint chocolatey, and I immediately chose it.

I’ve never actually had a jin jun mei tea, even though I have loved all the Fujian blacks I’ve tried. I can’t remember why, but I think there was something about the descriptions of some of them that didn’t appeal to me. I steeped this one up and it smells very malty, with a bit of molasses grains but not as strongly as a tan yang, say.

The flavor is lovely. Very bready, very malty. There is kind of a honey-ish flavor, but while that can mean a natural sweetness in some teas, it is definitely not in this. If anything the tea is slightly drying and a touch brisk. I was struggling this morning to try and figure out what that extra something was to this tea, almost a vegetal quality, and then I saw sweet potato notes and that was totally it. Almost a cross between a Fujian black and a Yunnan black. This was quite tasty and I would definitely try another JJM in the future, not to mention enjoying the rest of my packet of this tea.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Sorry to see I was not alone in my lack of sleep, but hey, great choice for the morning cup!

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423 tasting notes

One steeping before last. Three rounds in a taiwan. This is a good tea. A very good tea. But it’s not a spectacular tea. There’s honey, malt, the linen feel that Terri described – and also some bitterness, that emerges even in very short steeps. I like it, but it doesn’t rank among my top 10. It’s a 90+ tea – but taking the price into account, it drops to a “no, I wouldn’t buy it again”

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

I agree! I enjoyed it, but I actually liked the Wild Picked Jin Jun Mei better. Sadly, it is gone, & it appears they won’t be restocking it. :(


That’s a shame. I’ve also just learnt that Norbu won’t be restocking my favourite tea of all times – Lao Cong Zi Ya. :( Not a good thing to hear

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19 tasting notes

This tea has a sweet smell, but still has a familiar scent of black tea. It taste a little bitter and sweet, but mainlt regular black tea.

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42 tasting notes

This is a belated review of the 2016 harvest of this tea.

I’m having trouble formulating a thoughtful review of this tea because I adore it so much. It’s very reminiscent of Verdant’s Golden Fleece, but it’s a bit more approachable and comforting. If I wanted to treat myself or have an especially contemplative session I’d still reach for Golden Fleece, but this Jin Jun Mei is something I could see being closer to a daily drinker.

Every time I take a sniff of the aroma of this tea I catch something different: lemon, mushroom, wood, moss, jasmine, cinnamon, nutmeg, yeast, bread. The mouthfeel is slick and smooth with a medium body. Not nearly as thick and textured as Golden Fleece.

This is a tea where the scent very much matches the taste. Some infusions taste so strong of honey and lemon I’d swear I’d put some in after brewing the tea if I didn’t know better. The savory flavors of mushroom and bread are present in this tea, but less prominent than in Golden Fleece — they’re a nice counterbalance to the sweetness rather than trying to steal the show. The cinnamon and jasmine hints in the flavor are fleeting and accompanied by an even more fleeting hint of mint. Towards the end of the session a note minerality and creaminess arises to compliment and mellow the other flavors. I’ve had sessions where I leafed a bit heavier and got a chocolate note, but I’m actually preferring this lighter session that lets the other flavors sing.

I will note that the flavor of this tea needs to be appreciated when warm. I let the end of one cup go cold and it was very bland and unremarkable compared to the warm sips.

This tea also has a shocking staying power. I only used 3.8 grams in 4 oz of water for a gongfu session starting with a 6 second infusion and adding 3 seconds every time. Right now I’m on round 8 and haven’t needed to start pushing the increment beyond 3 seconds. (I’m curious to see how it holds up further, but I’m trapped under a sleeping cat I can’t bear to wake)

This is not a tea that I feel evolves much over a session. Given more sips I find more notes I hadn’t noticed before, but it feels less like the character of the tea has changed than my own perception has changed, given more time to explore what the tea is offering. I think in some ways this is a positive and why I could see it as a daily drinker — there’s a lot available in this tea, but I know what I’m getting from steep to steep.

Flavors: Bread, Cinnamon, Creamy, Honey, Jasmine, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Mint, Moss, Mushrooms, Nutmeg, Peppercorn, Smooth, Vanilla, Wood, Yeast

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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603 tasting notes

Another sampler from Verdant. Their tasting notes are on point here. It has a rather savory flavor profile. It smells and tastes of steamed buns and sausage which sounds worse than it actually is. The malt is light and there’s a bit of cocoa. It’s more of a savory flavor than sweet. The taste wasn’t bad, but just not my style of black tea.

Flavors: Meat

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

Steamed buns and sausage – lol!

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23 tasting notes

The appearance of this tea’s leaves is really nice. Small, twisted black and furry golden leaves with a sweet malty scent. In a warm gaiwan, the scent leans more towards savory malt with some spices.

The liquor is floral, sweet, and heavy in the mouth. There’s some honey/sweet potato sweetness and it’s surprisingly full-bodied and moderately thick. It’s bitter in a way that reminds me of good coffee. It’s there but it rounds out the flavor really well. There’s also some light astringency on the tip of the tongue but it doesn’t detract from the overall flavor too much.

After 5 or so steeps, the sweet flavors begin to fade and the malt takes over. It’s still nice, but I wish the sweet notes had stuck around a bit longer. The thickness has continued to improve, however.

Another steep or two (now with boiling water to wring out whatever flavor’s left) and I think that’s it for these leaves. This is a good tea but I think you can do better for the price elsewhere.

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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258 tasting notes

2016 harvest. When I first read their description about this tea having notes reminiscent of steamed buns I was like, “Yeah, ok.” But actually, I can easily see that comparison now that I’m drinking it.

Very light bready flavor with some possible vanilla notes in there. This is not a “knock your socks off” type of tea. It is subtle and meant to be slowly savored.

I looked this tea up and apparently it translates to Beautiful Golden Eyebrows so that is pretty neat and I can see how that name came about. I mean, thin eyebrows, but I get it.

Overall this isn’t my favorite black tea but I;m glad to have tried this style and I think it makes for a good tea when you get to sit and savor the subtle flavors. I’m interested in tasting more teas in this style to see how they compare.

Flavors: Bread

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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6005 tasting notes

Sipdown! 223/365!

Looks like this is where I logged my tea the last time I had it… there are too many entries that don’t match the text on the bags, making this horribly confusing. (I have, simply, “Jin Jun Mei”, purchased from Verdant. I also have a bag that I received in a reserve tea club box, which might be named the same.)

Anyways, this tea. It’s delicious. I barely had enough for a cup, but it was so flavourful and rich. Would have been better if it was fresher, too!

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818 tasting notes

I haven’t had the opportunity to try a jin jun mei before, so I grabbed a bit of this one with my Verdant order. It looks like a dian hong, and truthfully, it tastes like a dian hong. Sweet, yammy, smooth, maybe a bit of caramel, but not really distinct. Not really sure why there’s such a hype and steeper price for this kind of tea.

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