92

This was another recent sipdown of mine. I think I finished what I had of this tea either Friday evening or Saturday morning. I worked through most of what I had of it alongside the spring 2017 Jingmai Purple Needle black tea because I wanted to compare them to one another. Both were quality teas, but this more traditionally styled Jingmai Mountain black tea ended up being my favorite of the two.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, malt, chocolate, brown sugar, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, cream, and butter alongside an even stronger chocolate scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of rose, orange zest, straw, and violet as well as a subtle scent of smoke. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of malt, cream, butter, baked bread, earth, and chocolate that gave way to impressions of rose, roasted peanut, sweet potato, brown sugar, and orange zest before impressions of wheat toast and some vague vegetal notes took over on the swallow. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of pine, wheat toast, caramel, anise, cinnamon, marshmallow, menthol, and earth as well as some subtler scents of black pepper. Roasted almond, straw, and violet notes came out in the mouth along with stronger and more immediate impressions of wheat toast. I also detected cooked green bean hints and impressions of minerals, cinnamon, anise, menthol, caramel, red pear, pine, and lemon zest. There were even hints of leather, smoke, sour apricot, red grape, black pepper, and marshmallow lurking around the fringes. As the tea settled and faded, the liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, lemon zest, orange zest, malt, earth, roasted peanut, and cream that were balanced by hints of pine, roasted almond, sweet potato, chocolate, and brown sugar. Some menthol coolness remained in the mouth and throat after each swallow.

This was a very nice Jingmai Mountain black tea. It expressed a ton of character on the nose and in the mouth, and unlike quite a few other Yunnan black teas, its energy wasn’t overwhelming. I could see this making a great tea for Yunnan black tea connoisseurs and neophytes alike, since it had a ton to offer yet was never confusing, awkward, or overpowering.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apricot, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Grapes, Green Beans, Leather, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Menthol, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Rose, Smoke, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Violet, Wheat

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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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.

Location

KY

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