Okay, time for another review of a late 2020 sipdown. I think this one comes from late 2020 at least. I can’t really be sure. I blew through a bunch of samples from Old Ways Tea late last year and early this year, and this was the second that I finished, so I’m guessing I drank it in 2020. Whatever the case may be, I found it to be a great Wuyi black tea. It was subtler than anticipated, but it also had a ton of appeal.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 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, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, cinnamon, cedar, and blackberry. After the rinse, I detected novel aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and cream as well as a subtle scent of hay. The first infusion saw the hay scent strengthen somewhat while aromas of grass, lemon zest, and pine also appeared. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, malt, cream, butter, grass, hay, cedar, pine, and roasted almond that were balanced by hints of cinnamon, roasted peanut, and lemon zest. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of butter, cherry, daisy, sunflower, and orange zest to the tea’s bouquet, though I also occasionally noted subtler scents that reminded me a bit of coriander and blueberry. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of cinnamon, lemon zest, and roasted peanut emerged in the mouth along with mineral, blackberry, steamed milk, sweet potato, orange zest, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, and nutmeg impressions. There were also some subtle touches of cherry, allspice, blueberry, and coriander that popped up here and there along with some vague floral notes that reminded me a bit of a combination of daisy, sunflower, and dandelion. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, orange zest, roasted almond, malt, butter, cream, grass, and lemon zest that were chased by fleeting, ghostly hints of pine, cinnamon, roasted peanut, cedar, pumpkin seed, hay, coriander, and flowers.
Plopped in my desk chair typing out this review made me think back to jotting down my impressions of this tea while I sampled it. I was stunned to discover that I recalled drinking it very vividly. This tea struck me as being so unique that the memory of trying it for the first time is now etched into my brain. Even before I sat back down to write this review, I glanced down at my notes and thought, “Oh yeah, that’s the one that tasted like sunflower and pumpkin seeds.” Fortunately, this tea offered more than just an extremely novel drinking experience. It was also an incredibly deep, complex, tasty, balanced, and sophisticated offering. If you don’t mind a tea that offers a bit of a challenge, Jin Guazi would be for you. It takes a little time to get into, but it’s so worth it.
Flavors: Allspice, Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Hay, Lemon Zest, Malt, Milk, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes