My brain is a bit frazzled, it was my friend's birthday dinner and I ate way too much, I feel a bit food drunk! Similar to being tea drunk, though not as pleasant, my relationship with food is still pretty rocky, but I am starting to enjoy it again. It was so awesome to be able to food party with friends without my guts being a gate crasher, though I really do wish restaurants had better tea. Or tea at all!
I should start this review by saying this is the 2014 harvest, and my sample had a little note saying this year's will be fresher, this is a sad truth about green and yellow teas, not a hugely long shelf life. Now don't get me wrong, it is by no means stale, but it is not all it could be, kinda like me between breakfast and lunch! This Jun Shan Yin Zhen comes from Tanlong Premium Tea Collection, and is one of the more rare of the more well known Yellow Teas (and yes that was an odd sentence.) Yellow Teas are just not that well known in the West, and even if you are a seasoned tea drinker, there is a chance you might have not had one, and if you did it was probably Huo Shan Huang Ya, since it is a good deal harder to get Jun Shan Yin Zhen in this part of the world. The aroma of the very pretty little needles is sharp and vegetal, with notes of asparagus and artichoke, along with a crispy note of fresh bok choy. It has a bit of a buttery and peppery undertone, with just a tiny hint of nuttiness at the finish. The tea is mild, but the notes are distinct.
Brewing the leaves in my gaiwan really makes the green color of the little needles pop! My photo does not do it justice. The aroma is very sharp and vegetal, with returning notes of asparagus and artichoke, and bringing a new friend of fresh spinach. The finish had a hint of smoke and pepper, both of which are very mild. The liquid is much milder and smoother, more like green beans and artichoke with hints of spinach and asparagus, still retains a bit of that sharpness, but it has mellowed out.
The first steep is very delicate, not so much mild, but delicate, like a silk scarf floating through a breeze is delicate. The mouth feel is smooth like silk as well, so the comparison continues! The taste is vegetal, mostly a blend of green beans and artichokes, with a side note of bell peppers and a pinch of smoke. The finish is mild and sweet, like nectar of a tulip tree flower.
Onward to the second steep, the mellow and delicate aroma is a bit stronger this time, with the familiar notes of asparagus and green beans, with artichoke and spinach returning. The taste like the aroma, is mostly the same but stronger. The bell pepper note is much more predominate, and the smokiness at the end is not longer a pinch but is more of a distinct and lingering note, which I admit to liking (I do like my smoky notes though.) I like this tea, I have had a fresher Jun Shan Yin Zhen and can tell that yes, this is an older tea, and yes, I am willing to bet that when it was newer this tea was much more potent, making me very curious to get my hands on some of the 2015 harvest!