Another exciting day, and another package of excellent and authentic Chinese tea from the Lin Family in Anxi County, Fujian Province, China. I have raved about the high quality Ti Kuan Yin that comes from the Lin family farm. In fact, that is the only Ti Kuan Yin that I buy for my personal supply, as I have not cared for most of the other Ti Kuan Yin oolongs that I have tried. The point being, the Lin family farm produces some exceptional quality teas.
In recent weeks, I have read a few articles regarding the blossoming popularity in China of a particular black tea, Jin Jun Mei. Despite the fact that it has only been developed in the past decade, Jin Jun Mei has gained popularity like no other black tea in China’s history. Having this tea name so freshly in my memory, I was excited to see a sample of it listed on the packing slip with my most recent purchase of Ti Kuan Yin from the Lins. It seems that the Lins have a family member in Wuyi County who produces some very good teas, including Jin Jun Mei and Rou Gui black tea. Reading of it’s popularity in China, I am interested to see what all of the excitement is about.
That being said, let the journey begin..
The dry leaves of this Jin Jun Mei are a uniform dark brown-black color, with an abundance of gold tips. The leaves are fairly short in length, and twisted. They appear to be small leaves or buds, and few stems. The aroma is sweet (malt, molasses), with a touch of spice (cinnamon), and an attractive bakey tone.
This sample was prepared using the standard method. Purified water was heated to 212°F (100°C). Three grams of dry leaves were placed into a professional tasting cup holding about three ounces (100 ml). The leaves were infused for fifteen seconds, with ten seconds added to each additional infusion.
The first infusion produced a beautiful bright amber color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma was sweet (malt), with a slight floral (orchid) scent. This liquor has a full bodied, mouth filling taste. The taste is sweet (malt), floral (orchid) and had a fruity acidity to it (pineapple?). Floral (orchid) notes are felt in the finish. There was a very mild astringency. Very tasteful and sweet, despite the short suggested infusion time. I am beginning to understand it’s appeal.
The second infusion (25 seconds) produced a slightly darker shade of amber than the 1st infusion. The aroma lost no strength or character, remaining sweet and slightly floral. Body remains full, with a mouth filling taste. The taste remains sweet, floral, and slight fruity, with a floral finish. The fruity acidity did dissipate some in this second infusion, leaving the malt taste more dominant. Astringency remains mild, but noticeable. I like the short infusion times, as they produce great tasting teas, and the leaves should be able to produce quite a few infusions.
The third infusion (35 seconds) produced a liquor more similar to the first infusion, slightly lighter shade of amber than the second infusion. Aroma is less strong on the sweet (malt) scent, and more dominant in the floral (orchid) scent. The body remains full, with a mouth filling taste. The taste also lightened on the sweet (malt) note, and is more dominant on the floral (orchid) note, with the fruity acidity (pineapple) still light, but noticeable. The floral (orchid) finish and aftertaste remain. The astringency has dissipated some. I found this third infusion to have the best balance out of the three infusions. It has a perfect blend of sweet and floral scents and tastes. Very high quality third infusion.
The infused leaves of the Jin Jun Mei have a uniform brown color. The leaves consist of some fragments and a good number of buds. A few stems are present. The leaves still have some structural integrity, indicating that additional infusions can produce an acceptable flavor. The aroma of the infused leaves retain the sweet (malt) and floral (orchid) aromas. These leaves definitely have some taste left to give.
Although I do not have a photo, I did have time to make a fourth infusion. The color remained a nice shade of amber, not much lighter than the third infusion. The aroma lightened on the sweet (malt) scent, but the floral (orchid) scent persisted, and even a fruity scent can be felt. The body lightened some, but is still medium-full. The taste reflected the aroma, lightening on the sweet (malt) note, and maintaining a very pleasant floral (orchid) note, with the fruity note remaining. The aftertaste is still floral and lingering, indicating the quality of the tea.
To get four solid infusions out of a black tea is very impressive. Not only did I get four solid infusions, but I am strongly confident that one, two, or even three more is a reasonable expectation of this tea. The trick with this tea is the infusion time. I admit that my first tasting of this tea had a two minute infusion time, and the results, although not bad, were not nearly as good as the results with the short infusion time. I tried the shorter time, and the difference in aroma and taste were vast. This tea had a very nice balance of tastes, and the layering of tastes from infusion to infusion was very impressive. Assuming this is an authentic Jin Jun Mei from Tongmu village, then I can understand the excitement and popularity of this tea. Thank you, Linda, for your generosity in providing this excellent sample to me. Another impressive produce from the Lin family.