Friday, May 15, 2015

Teasenz: Jin Jun Mei Tea, A Tea Review

Man, it is humid today! I am pretty sure the air is soup, it feels like living in the South! I have mixed feelings about humidity, on the one hand it means possible storms and rain, which I love, on the other hand it makes everything feel damp. I spent the entire night fussing with my pillows and sheets because they felt soggy, my clothes feel soggy, my paint is just not drying, and my hair is super poofy. I am enjoying the damp smell of earth and wood that is wafting through my window though, so I forgive most of the side effects, well except the soggy feeling bed. 

When my box of samples from Teasenz arrived, I did a squee of joy over the Da Hong Pao, but I also let one out over today's tea, Jin Jun Mei! Another tea I ran out of recently, so there is no surprise that this was the first tea I opened up and drank from the sample collection. From the Tongmu Village in Wuyi (same home of Lapsang Souchong) in a way this tea is considered the super fancy version of Lapsang Souchong. Picked as a Pre-Qingming tea and only collecting the delicate buds, these 'golden eyebrows' are super pretty, but I do love my fuzzy golden teas. The aroma of the delicately curling buds is super rich, with notes of malt, and different layers of woodiness. There are hints of sweet pine sap, cedar, and a pinch of sandalwood, it is very aromatic, not as sweet as some Jin Jun Meis I have experienced, but still pretty intense. The finishing note is a whiff of molasses and honey, with just a hint of roasted peanuts. 

Tossing the leaves into my gaiwan and giving them a good short steeping (well shortish, long by puerh standards but short by western...ok it was 30 seconds, you be the judge!) and the aroma went super intense and sweet. Mixing honey and molasses with rich malt and just a hint of the previous woodiness in the form of delicate pine sap. The liquid is super sweet and creamy, with notes of malt, molasses, cocoa, roasted peanuts, and pine sap. Ben who was sitting on the other side of the room remarked at how good the tea smelled. He insisted on having a cup, which is understandable, he is a long time fan of Jin Jun Mei. 

Ever had tea out of a pine cup? Me either, but I imagine it would taste like this, rich, sweet, and malty, with a distinct pine sap undertone. It is quite entertaining, the pine taste does not overwhelm any of the other notes, it compliments them. The finish is a blend of cocoa and molasses, which lingers for a while. 

The aroma of the second steep is super heavy on the pine sap, giving is a woody sweetness, again reminding me of tea in a pine cup. The taste is not as sweet this time, but still super rich, starting off with a thick mouthfeel and heavy note of malt. Malt is definitely the defining taste, it is accompanied by molasses and just a hint of honey and cocoa at the finish. 

Third steeping time! The pine notes have mellowed some, now it is distant pine and nice rich malt and molasses, much sweeter, similar to the first steeping. The taste also is super rich and sweet, starting off with honey and finishing with honey. The middle is a rich building malt and molasses that rolls across my tongue like a sultry wave, the taste gives it an almost thick feel, but that is mostly in my mind since the texture is very smooth. This feels like a more 'grown up' Jin Jun Mei, blending very rich notes with honey sweetness, I like its extra body in comparison to others I have had. 

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