We’re in China for Chinese New Year and my aunt gave us some Jin Jun Mei. I had never heard of this tea before, but I’m told its quite rare, and undergoing some sort of resurgence in China right now. The name means Golden Beautiful Eyebrow, a nod towards the shape/color of the dried leaves, and it comes from Wu Yi Shan, an area known for producing black (or “red” as it’s called in China) tea.

We brewed this gong-fu style. It went for about 6 infusions and produces a gorgeous, glowy deep amber liquid. Sometimes I think I like staring at tea just as much as drinking it…

The flavor of Chinese black teas always seems a little on the light/grassy/vegetal side to me, but maybe that’s just because I’m used to drinking super-dark flavored black teas with tons of milk. Anyway this… there is just a hint of astringency but overall it’s very smooth. Flavors I detected or possibly imagined: pineapple, red dates, and honey. Like a lot of quality Chinese teas, it leaves a sweetness on the tongue long after the last sip. How does that work, I wonder?

I like this tea, but it’s not an everyday tea for me. It takes a lot of concentration to get pass the vegetal overtones, so it’s probably better for those quiet afternoons when you can spare an hour to focus on the tea.

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