We’re keeping the review train rolling over here. This was another of my sipdowns from the fall of 2020. It seems that I always enjoy Yunnan Sourcing’s Imperial Grade Jin Jun Mei either a little more or a little less than everyone else. The former was certainly the case with this tea. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds presented aromas of honey, malt, baked bread, sweet potato, caramel, cinnamon, and dark chocolate. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut. The first infusion brought out a mineral scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, cream, butter, baked bread, and roasted almond that were balanced by hints of plum, cinnamon, honey, caramel, dark chocolate, roasted peanut, orange zest, mushroom, pear, sugarcane, and red apple. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of cream, butter, oats, pear, plum, and red apple in addition to subtle scents of orange zest, mushroom, and vanilla. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of caramel, dark chocolate, honey, roasted peanut, orange zest, red apple, and pear came out in the mouth with notes of sweet potato, minerals, oats, sweet cherry, and birch bark in tow. I also found hints of molasses, nutmeg, ginger, peach, rose, earth, and vanilla. As the tea faded, the liquor started emphasizing notes of minerals, malt, butter, baked bread, cream, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of roasted peanut, oats, dark chocolate, sugarcane, mushroom, caramel, vanilla, orange zest, pear, plum, red apple, sweet cherry, and sweet potato.

Though this tea produced a liquor that was frequently subtle and somewhat restrained, it was a blast to sniff, drink, and pick apart. It faded quickly, but it retained great body and texture as well as tremendous depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth up until pretty much the last infusion. This was very much an impressive offering, one that would likely please fans of Jin Jun Mei.

Flavors: Almond, Bark, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Ginger, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Mushrooms, Nutmeg, Oats, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Red Apple, Rose, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla

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.



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