This was my final sipdown in April. At this point, I am down to only two more pouches of Jin Jun Mei. I plan on getting to both before the end of the current month. I was not initially sure what to expect of this one, but I had high hopes considering that I liked the previous Yunnan Sourcing Jin Jun Mei that I tried. Fortunately, this tea was not a disappointment. I actually found it to be one of the best Jin Jun Mei that I have tried.

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 chased by 16 subsequent 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 chocolate, pine, malt, smoke, brown sugar, and ginger. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, sweet potato, cedar, juniper, and baked bread. The first infusion introduced aromas of black pepper and roasted almond. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, earth, butter, cooked green beans, brown sugar, and cream that were chased by hints of chocolate, black pepper, roasted peanut, baked bread, smoke, and pine. The subsequent infusions introduced an earthy aroma as well as subtle scents of minerals, grass, cream, vanilla, cooked green beans, and cinnamon. Ginger and sweet potato notes appeared in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediate impressions of chocolate, baked bread, smoke, and roasted peanut and very subtle notes of roasted almond, cedar, and juniper. I also detected notes of grass, vanilla, honey, and minerals as well as occasional hints of caramel and cinnamon. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, malt, cream, butter, roasted peanut, cooked green beans, and grass that gave way to vanilla, brown sugar, chocolate, pine, roasted almond, sweet potato, and baked bread hints.

I really appreciated the fact that this tea’s flavor profile did not follow its bouquet. It had my attention from the very start as the aromas it gave off did not quickly lead to identical flavors in the mouth. I also liked that it went from being a very heavy, complex tea on the nose to one that primarily emphasized flavor and texture. Brewing and drinking this tea were not boring, predictable processes. It kept me on my toes throughout my review session. By the time I got around to trying this tea, I was at a point in my Jin Jun Mei journey where I needed a tea that was lively and challenging. This was that tea for me. I imagine that people who are looking for a quality Jin Jun Mei that is endearingly quirky and complex as well as accessible and not overly challenging would be pleased with this one.

Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Ginger, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Peanut, Pine, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

I want to say something about being on your ‘tea toes’ but I have nothing. The tea sounds great!

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I want to say something about being on your ‘tea toes’ but I have nothing. The tea sounds great!

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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