My tea order came in from the Yunnan Sourcing US site this afternoon, and boy do I have a lot of teas to try. I ordered six different teas, and this was one of them. I had originally made an order to the Chinese based Yunnan Sourcing site before realizing it would almost certainly be delayed due to the Chinese New Year. Thus, ever tea hungry, I made an additional order from the US based site with the rationale that of course I can go through 300g of tea before the Chinese order arrives.
At least one can say I’m optimistic.
Regardless, although Jin Mei Gui was the second tea that I tried from this order, it certainly comes in first place so far.
I brewed this gongfu method, in my 100ml Ruyao Gaiwan, with steeps that stuck around 5 seconds at the start, 10-15 in the middle, and 30 at the end. I got a heavy 10 steeps out of this, but the last two were pretty faded, and could have probably been skipped.
That said, let’s get to the review.
Dry leaf: Pretty floral scent, with standard roasty oolong scent intermixed. My first impression upon getting a whiff from the bag was dried rose petals.
Liquor: Honey yellow, at the start, with a halo of deep amber. Later steeps produced pale gold with deep gold halo.
The aroma is like roasted sesame, and first taste is exactly like that with rose, sesame, and honey on the nose. It has a gentle sweetness, like sugar encrusted rose petals you might find on a wedding cake.
Definitely not cloying like overly sweet rose scented candles or perfume.
This was the first and last time the actual standard roasted-tea-leaf-taste of oolong actually came out to play, with the first taste also having some nuttiness (closer to hazelnut than sesame) and then slipping into a floral rose on the nose that is dripping in honey. It is delicately sweet, at the same time, like eating cake, and the taste lingers and lingers quite a long time after.
First taste is roses, strong strong roses like a fresh bouquet at a wedding with more of that addicting honey and rose taste on the nose. This was probably my favorite steep as the sweetness on breathing out wasn’t quite so strong and the stronger rose taste was really pleasant and quite a surprise as the previous steeps had been all nuts and oolong. It has that nostalgic taste and smell to it that just makes you happy to think about even long after the session is over.
As this point, I was pretty tea drunk, which is pretty unusual for me with oolongs. I kept wanting more and more of the tea and was drinking it pretty fast – not gulping it down but the time between steeps was pretty short.
I was jittery, full of energy, my heart was going pitter-patter and my thoughts were rushing along. It’s the type of feeling you get right before a first date, when you still aren’t sure what to expect, or perhaps right before saying “I do”. Exciting, and almost overwhelming.
The places have reversed, with the rose-y floral taste coming in first, and then sesame on the nose – again the theme of honey and roses keeps showing up in this tea.
Not much to say here, pretty faded, and I thought it was on it’s way out as it was like the type of taste you’d expect from pressed flowers that haven’t been fresh in a long long time.
6th, 7th, 8th steep:
That said I was completely wrong. This steep was SWEET. Almost overpoweringly so, I thought this tea was well and truly dead because of the lightness of the previous steep but it’s completely back full force with a strength that’s like taking a spoonful of honey. The 7th and 8th steeps both follow along this path and at this point the sweetness is almost frustrating. I’m hoping it will switch up at the last moment, but it stubbornly remains sweet without much change.
Faded, almost the same as steep 5 but even fainter. This tea is pretty much dead at this point. There’s some very slight floral going on, but the sweetness and all depth is gone.
This is a very special tea, that brings to mind first dates, weddings, wedding cake, brings about a tea drunkenness that was unexpected and exciting, and has a pretty consistent taste throughout the session.
At the same time, though, you never get bored of it, because the places of the three main flavors/scents (sesame, rose, and honey) keeps switching around with some coming to the forefront while others fade back for a while. It’s a steady relationship type of tea, a “meet the parents” type of tea. It isn’t quite to the point where it’s a “married with kids” type of tea, as it doesn’t have that quality of it falling into a routine. It’s still new and exciting, and you keep seeing sides of it you don’t expect from one steep to the next.
This is a very romantic tea, you wouldn’t want to share with just anyone. The thought of sharing it with anyone who asks might inspire a bit of jealousy and protectiveness that’s reserved for the most special of teas you come across.
Even during the most frustrating times of the session (6th, 7th, and 8th steeps) I wanted to stick through it, through some weird sense of loyalty and stubbornness to see if it was well and truly over, and although it was frustrating due to the sweetness it wasn’t unpleasant at the same time.
This would be the perfect tea to have at a wedding, or on a special occasion like valentines day or a cozy, intimate date at home with your special someone. I’ll most likely order a lot more of this in the next month or two just to make sure I have it around.