4 Tasting Notes
We’re in China for Chinese New Year and my aunt gave us some Jin Jun Mei. I had never heard of this tea before, but I’m told its quite rare, and undergoing some sort of resurgence in China right now. The name means Golden Beautiful Eyebrow, a nod towards the shape/color of the dried leaves, and it comes from Wu Yi Shan, an area known for producing black (or “red” as it’s called in China) tea.
We brewed this gong-fu style. It went for about 6 infusions and produces a gorgeous, glowy deep amber liquid. Sometimes I think I like staring at tea just as much as drinking it…
The flavor of Chinese black teas always seems a little on the light/grassy/vegetal side to me, but maybe that’s just because I’m used to drinking super-dark flavored black teas with tons of milk. Anyway this… there is just a hint of astringency but overall it’s very smooth. Flavors I detected or possibly imagined: pineapple, red dates, and honey. Like a lot of quality Chinese teas, it leaves a sweetness on the tongue long after the last sip. How does that work, I wonder?
I like this tea, but it’s not an everyday tea for me. It takes a lot of concentration to get pass the vegetal overtones, so it’s probably better for those quiet afternoons when you can spare an hour to focus on the tea.
I love this, and have to have it with cream and sugar. The Bergamot is heady, but not too much so, and it’s nicely balanced out with sweet berries. It’s a fruity treat of a tea.
This might actually work very well as a bubble tea. Maybe I should get some tapioca balls…
The only thing I dislike about it is how it lists “artificial flavor” in its ingredients. Arrrgh, David’s Tea!
Anyway, I imagine a fairytale princess might like this very much with her strawberry scones while sitting in her rose garden and hanging out with her rabbit pals.
We drank this gong-fu style in a zisha clay pot. We did several infusions. The first we used to rinse the leaves and cups, and then tossed. The second we drank. Whoa. This is like the smoked whiskey of teas. Very heady woodsy scent with lots of shiitake mushroom. A bit bitter on the back of your tongue. The mouthfeel was pretty dry and flat. I didn’t like that very much.
Four more infusions in, the color and taste started to lighten up. It began to have an almost creamy texture and super subtle sweetness. The mushroom funkiness was still there but much lighter and more pleasant. The scent became more like aged rice paper.
So pu-erh is still not my favorite tea, much like how I don’t like whiskey infused with smokey wood chips. So manly. But I can definitely appreciate its complexity now. Like other fermented things (aged cheese, beer, etc) it has a definite funk. Some like that, some don’t. I like my teas refreshing and bright. This tea is more like a comforting old library with leather chairs and dust motes dancing in the air.
I don’t know. It’s artificially flavored. Really, David’s Tea, really? But sometimes you don’t want “tea,” you just want a steaming hot concept in a cup. So that, like most of David’s Teas, fits the bill.
Rooibos works well as a gentle background for the mint chocolate flavor. Very comforting and doesn’t have that “blast of cold air” feel of some mint teas. Nor does it have that overpowering sickly sweet fragrance of some ‘chocolate’ teas. This works well as a winter morning tea, and doesn’t need to be sweetened to taste nice.