drank Chunmee by Simpson & Vail
1048 tasting notes

In the realm of green teas, chunmee (also chun mee, chun mei, and zhen mei) needs no introduction. It is one of the most popular and widespread Chinese green teas. It is currently grown in several Chinese provinces, among them Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Anhui. It has been widely available in the United States from a number of sellers for years. So, with all of the above fun facts in mind, it is kind of hard for me to review this tea. I mean, what can I possibly say about a tea of this type that has not been said before?

Simpson & Vail’s Chunmee looks just about like every other tea of this type that I have run across. The dry leaves are dusty and green with a slightly lemony, grainy scent. After a 2 minute infusion at 180 F, the resulting liquor was a rich yellow. On the nose, I detected scents of lemon, hay, straw, char, and grass. In the mouth, I immediately detected notes of char, pak choi, Brussels sprouts, grass, hay, straw, and minerals. Subsequent infusions revealed slightly subtler lemon, char, and vegetal, grassy notes with a more pronounced minerality. At no point did I pick up the plum aftertaste described by the people at Simpson & Vail.

Truthfully, I don’t really know about this one. Chunmee is not something I go out of my way to drink all that often. It’s not bad or anything, it’s just kind of plain, and at this point in my life, I’m just a little too familiar with it. In the end, I guess I can file this specific tea under okay, but boring.

Flavors: Char, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Mineral, Straw, Vegetables

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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