I’ve been gazing at the Reserve TOMC box for a few days now. For some reason I seem to always get the box before everyone else, & so I was waiting a few days, to give someone else a chance to be the first to post about these teas. Last night before sleeping, I decided to do a comparison today of this Jin Jun Mei (JJ) to the Wild Picked version (WP) that I also have from Verdant. Every month I struggle with my cynical self (that would be Ms. Theresa) over whether these reserve teas are really so special & worth the price.
I have enough of the WP for about one more session, stored in a tin, but I also have a foil sample packet from awhile back. I decided to use the sample because I felt it would have the freshest taste. I followed the parameters given for each tea, which are not exactly the same, but close enough. These are the only teas I’ve had so far today, & in my tea journal, I took extensive notes all morning long, comparing each individual aspect of the teas, side by side, but rather than bore you with all those details, I’m gonna attempt to narrow it down.
Appearance: JJ = compact dense strands of black & Mahogany, WP =
Fluffier strands of Gold, beige, grey, & black. The look is similar, but by weight, the JJ looks like less tea due to it’s density.
Dry Aroma: ohhh, malt & honey! They both smell awesome, but admittedly, the JJ has a little something more, as if new smelling cells are waking up in my sinuses.
Warmed Aroma: Both smell like fresh bread with butter, but JJ has a sweeter smell, of a fruity honey.
Wet leaf aroma: Similar, with a ‘thick’ quality, WP has a peppery aroma.
Rinse: of course, I sampled the rinse water! Who could resist? To me they were both like unsweetened chocolate water, with the WP a little less pronounced.
Formula: JJ 4G + 4oz Gaiwan (rinse) X 5 sec, adding 2 to each steep.
WP 4G + 4oz Gaiwan (rinse) X 3 sec for 3 steeps, adding 3 to each steep
Throughout all steepings both teas were a beautiful orange brown, with the WP being a slightly browner & cloudier color, with more sediment in the bottom of the cup. Both teas had a lovely malt, butter, & honey flavor, & thick linen feel, with the biggest difference being that the WP gradually became more peppery with a slight bitterness, & JJ also had a fuller flavor all along, even though the color remained lighter, & it also had a sweet potato essence to it.
I love them both! I can see that JJ is a little more refined, but they are both delicious!