It seems like every time I get started on getting my backlogged reviews posted, something happens that puts me further behind. This week it has been a combination of work craziness and a neck injury. The latter is nothing too serious, but my mobility is somewhat limited at the moment and will continue to be for at least the next two or three days. I’ve been able to keep up my drinking schedule, however, and have made more progress on the sample mountain, finishing a sample pouch of this tea around three or four days ago. Though Jin Jun Mei is normally not one of my things, I greatly enjoyed this one.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of honey, smoke, sweet potato, and sorghum molasses coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted emerging aromas of malt and roasted walnut. The first infusion brought out a creamy scent as well as a quality that was almost floral. In the mouth, I noted flavors of smoke, cream, malt, sweet potato, sorghum molasses, roasted walnut, and roasted chestnut. Oddly, I detected no honey in the mouth, but I did get a fairly pronounced note of brown sugar on the swallow. Subsequent infusions displayed even stronger honey, sorghum molasses, and sweet potato aromas as well as something of an increased nuttiness. There were some touches of brown sugar on the nose too. New flavors of candied ginger, minerals, orange peel, and caramel revealed themselves alongside stronger notes of brown sugar and subtle, belatedly emerging impressions of honey. The final infusions offered mineral, cream, and caramel notes balanced by touches of candied ginger, brown sugar, and orange peel.
A pleasant and relatively durable Wuyi black tea, this was not quite what I was expecting. I figured that this tea would be incredibly honeyed and sweet, but this was smoother and more balanced with a nice, crisp, sharp texture in the mouth. I’m still not entirely sold on Jin Jun Mei, but this tea made me appreciate teas of this style more. For fans of traditional Wuyi black teas, this would most certainly be a tea worth trying.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chestnut, Cream, Ginger, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut