I didn’t realize how much Jin Jun Mei I had in my home until I started this black tea binge around the end of last month. I have been prioritizing sipping them down since my experience suggests that such smaller-leaved black teas do not tend to keep as well as things like Yunnan Assamica. Luckily, I have yet to encounter one that has not been still more or less at its peak, but unfortunately, this Jin Jun Mei reduction effort has forced me to accept the fact that Jin Jun Mei is not my favorite type of Wuyi black tea. This one, however, was quite nice. It grew on me a great deal over the course of my time with it.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, malt, smoke, honey, sweet potato, and molasses. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted peanut, green tomato, green bell pepper, earth, and cocoa. The first infusion brought out aromas of caramel and pine. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, malt, smoke, sweet potato, cocoa, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of grass, green tomato, earth, honey, caramel, and green bell pepper. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cream, butter, straw, orange zest, ginger, grass, and marshmallow. Molasses and pine impressions emerged in the mouth and were accompanied by stronger and more immediately noticeable notes of caramel, grass, earth, honey, green tomato, and green bell pepper. I also picked up notes of minerals, cream, butter, straw, cinnamon, orange zest, ginger, lemon zest, and marshmallow. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to offer notes of minerals, malt, smoke, grass, cream, cinnamon, and cocoa that were chased by hints of pine, orange zest, butter, sweet potato, and straw.
This was a little earthier, smokier, and more vegetal than I generally expect Jin Jun Mei to be, but honestly, those qualities made this tea more appealing to me. Too often I find Jin Jun Mei to be a little boring and flat, but after all was said and done, I could not say those things about this one. It was a very lively, often prickly Jin Jun Mei that stuck with me long after I finished my review session. Ultimately, I would have liked to see a little more longevity and a little more balance out of this tea, but honestly, it was still a very nice Jin Jun Mei that was well worth the time and effort required to get to know it.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Ginger, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Smoke, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal