Well, I’m back after a long absence. I did not exactly mean to take a three week break from posting reviews, but it just kind of happened anyway. A lot has changed on my end in a very short time. I have two new jobs. I don’t know how I feel about them yet. For those wondering, I did not get the academic library job I applied for several months back. After getting strong feedback after my interview, it turns out my references were never checked, meaning I was never seriously being considered for the position in the first place. Then I got offered a position with the state after an interview that I thought went terribly. The pay isn’t great, but the benefits are solid. I also ended up getting offered a part-time side gig at the local Wal-Mart that bizarrely pays almost as much as my state job. I literally only make $0.58 more per hour with the state. My manager at Wal-Mart, however, is the mother of an old friend and thinks I would make a wonderful manager or corporate trainer and wants me to work for her part-time until something full-time opens up or a corporate/management position opens for which she can push me. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I needed an alternative. I’m way too old to be putting all of my eggs in one basket in terms of a career, and I need something I can do while I go back to school in my mid-late thirties that not only allows me to support myself but allows me to live pretty well. I’m not sure how I feel about the state position yet (I’m supposed to be able to work from home after I finish training), so having another option is great for me. Getting back on track now, this was one of my sipdowns from late 2020 (maybe around October or November). I found it to be a strong competition grade Jin Jun Mei.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 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 buds emitted aromas of honey, malt, marshmallow, cinnamon, baked bread, and molasses. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and sugarcane. The first infusion added aromas of chocolate, brown sugar, and sweet potato. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of malt, marshmallow, roasted almond, sweet potato, baked bread, honey, and sugarcane that were balanced by hints of brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. The subsequent infusions added aromas of pine, orange zest, and cream as well as subtler scents of vanilla, lemon zest, and black pepper. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of chocolate emerged in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, cream, pine, roasted peanut, orange zest, lemon zest, and caramel. Hints of cinnamon, red grape, red apple, pear, plum, black pepper, leather, and vanilla were present as well. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, malt, cream, caramel, baked bread, roasted almond, pine, orange zest, honey, and chocolate that were chased by hints of sugarcane, marshmallow, roasted peanut, sweet potato, lemon zest, leather, red grape, and vanilla.
Something of a typical higher end Jin Jun Mei, this tea delivered exactly what it was expected to deliver and nothing more. That statement, however, is not intended as a slight. This was a complex tea that was approachable, pleasant, and drinkable despite its complexity, and it displayed admirable longevity in a fairly lengthy gong fu session. Though I have had several Jin Jun Mei that offered more novel aroma and flavor components or had a livelier, firmer texture in the mouth, this was still a well-executed classic take on the style that was sophisticated and loaded with subtle appeal.
Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Grapes, Honey, Leather, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla