Let it be known that Tan Yang black is just about the closest thing to perfection I’ve ever met in Tea-Land. It’s interesting and complex and it has both smokyness and a strong cocoa and raisin note to it. Anything you like in a chinese black, the Tan Yang has it.
It’s no secret that I have a torrid love affair with TeaSprings Tan Yang Te Ji. For the longest time, however, that was sold out but they still had the Tan Yang Jing Zhi in stock. A higher leaf grade and a MUCH more expensive tea. Expensive enough that it’s certainly not one that I would just go ahead and buy large amounts of. Money don’t grow on trees where I come from.
So when the Te Ji finally came back in stock I went ahead and bought a larger supply and a small amount of the Jing Zhi for experimentation and comparison purpose. If the Te Ji is such a piece of perfection, how awesome could not the more refined version be?
25g. Half of it I sent off to Auggy as she is also a lover of the Tan Yang (I don’t mind taking the blame for that) and I wanted her to have the opportunity to experiment and compare as well. It’s always nice with a second opinion. The other half was carefully packed down again and has been lying around for a while. I wanted plenty of time to try it in and I was also afraid of messing the brewing up, what with having so little of it and it being priced the way it was.
But today is the day. I’m doing a side by side comparison, so I’ve just made two cups of tea in my little farm animals favourite pot. One Te Ji (in the sheep cup) and one Jing Zhi (in the kitty cup). I’ve been careful to brew them exactly the same way. Same amount of leaf, same temperature, same time. Even same shape cup (but that’s more because the size fits the pot perfectly). I made the Jing Zhi last so I can resteep the leaves and the get the most out of them.
Rather than making two identical posts, I’m posting the whole thing in this one, since it’s a comparison of two very similar teas and I’m primarily wanting to see how the Jing Zhi is in comparison to the far more well-known Te Ji.
In the following, all notes pertaining to Te Ji will be in italics.
There seems to be more aroma. It’s more or less the same notes, sweet, slightly wooden, slightly smoky and rather raisin-y. Weirdly I’m not finding much cocoa in either of them this morning. That’s odd because the first time I had Te Ji it had very strong cocoa notes to it and I would have expected the Jing Zhi to be the same. Maybe the first time around was a better year for cocoa-notes. Or something.
Stronger, fuller aroma in Jing Zhi, but the same notes.
There is still a lot of cocoa in the flavour, especially on the swallow, but mostly it’s a sweetly oaky sort of flavour. A bit spicy, and not very smoky, but the smoke generally don’t really come to its right until the second steep
This seems stronger. A little more astringent, a little closer to a pang of bitterness. It doesn’t seem to have the same immediate charm, and I’m reminded of how the Te Ji wasn’t really that special the first time, but grew on me with remarkable speed. There is definitely smoke present here, as well as an oaky note. It’s not as sweet though. Te Ji appears to have an ever so slightly honeyed note. It’s very very little and only there if you really search for it, but I can’t find that in Jing Zhi at all, how ever much I search. The more fruity notes of raisins are more well developed here though than in Te Ji.
The Jing Zhi seems a little rougher, a little sharper around the edges. I prefer the Te Ji here.
All in all, the Jing Zhi is very awesomely good. Like the Te Ji it’s just a whisker away from perfection. In some ways, yes, I think it is a little bit better than Te Ji, but it’s no way near so much better that I’m willing to pay that amount of money for it. The Te Ji wins on price by several horse lengths. If and when I become a multi-billionaire, I might switch to Jing Zhi just for the snobbery of it, but in the meantime Te Ji is totally still pressing all the same buttons.