Okay, first of all, WTF? I could have sworn that Chun Mee was a chinese tea. This prompted me to look through my books on the subject and it would appear that Chun Mee originally came from the Jiangxi province and has since spread to the rest of China. It’s produced in Yunnan now, for example. So why shouldn’t it have spread to Taiwan as well, just like Gunpowder? But it just still feels weird to me that it’s not chinese.
The name means ‘precious eyebrow’, and apparently refers to the way the leaves are twisted. I don’t know, they don’t look very eyebrowish to me, but there you are. They have a nice dusty green colour and the aroma is sweet but not very strong.
In the cup it gets a nice yellow colour. The shop recommended an 8-10 minutes steeping time which I just couldn’t make myself do, especially since my literature warned me that if oversteeped this is a tea that can get devilishly bitter, so I took the first cup after about the usual 4-5 minutes and let the rest continue to stew. It had the same sweet but vague smell that was kind of difficult to find, like the harder you breathed in the more it just sort of slipped around your nose. This did not change significantly with increased steeping time.
I have to say that the first cup did have a relatively weak feel to it, but it was still a full bodies sort of flavour. It was a bit astringent and it had that prickly sort of taste that I personally think of as what they mean with ‘spicyness’ in tea. With increased steeping time it turned a bit more astringent and developed a more sour sort of after taste which went on forever and ever. Not sour like in a lemon, more like sour like in a cup of coffee that has gone cold.
The Gunpowder Blend that I had yesterday had that same sort of aftertaste to it, and I’m nearly certain that they must have used Chun Mee for that blend. And seriously proud of my self for having figured this out too.
I think I definitely preferred the slightly weaker one of the two cups I had, and I think it must also have a couple more steeps left in it.