Also from Nicole (and I suspect originally from boychik). I figured since I tried the “regular” version of this, I might as well try the imperial grade next so I could compare! These leaves look like miniature versions of the others, but they have less golden color, which I found weird. The dry scent is very mild as well, maybe with a touch more honey? I used the same brewing parameters.

I get the same dark bread and molasses aroma, but with maybe a touch more earthiness and a more toasted scent. The taste is very roasty, which is amazing! Like a slice of dark wheat toast with a little bit of roasted unsweetened nut butter along with the molasses. And I love that so much about this tea! I also get a hint of raisiny goodness. The earth note is still there, but it seems more mellow and refined, I couldn’t compare it to smoke anymore. And I think I catch a hint of floral in the aftertaste? Couldn’t tell you what kind of flower it is, though.

There was a little bitterness in this brew, especially when taking multiple sips in quick succession. So next time I make this I might try a lower water temperature and/or a 2m30s steep. Very good though!

Flavors: Brown Toast, Earth, Floral, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Roasted nuts

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Interesting to see your comparison of the two right together. I just ordered both the Premium Grande and Imperial Grade of the spring 2014 Jin Jun Mei. Can’t wait to be able to do a side by side too. :))

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Interesting to see your comparison of the two right together. I just ordered both the Premium Grande and Imperial Grade of the spring 2014 Jin Jun Mei. Can’t wait to be able to do a side by side too. :))

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Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m 29 years old and currently living in Austin, Texas with my boyfriend of 5 years. We’re both software engineers, currently working in the field of Machine Learning. I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-faced dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one.

I am also an avid yarn collector (errr, I mean knitter!) when the hot Austin weather allows for it… Find me on Ravelry under the name LorenWeiss!

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. I have recently started to brew gongfu cha style!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, just let me know via PM!

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms, including black, green, oolong, and white teas, as well as maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I am open to more exploration of puerh, but it’s not generally one of my favorites. I am not often a fan of fruit-based tisanes.

My very favorite straight teas tend to be from China, Japan, or Taiwan. I also enjoy matcha!

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially mango and pineapple.

Dessert: Again, all the things! I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I do very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. But I’m not crazy about rose and lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a main flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea. Smoke can be tasty when it’s not heavy-handed.

Favorite Purveyors:
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Taiwan Tea Crafts
Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

My profile photo is by inkpug!


Austin, Texas



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