Yesterday, my housekeeper reminded me I had a box of tea stored on top of a closet in the third bedroom at home, and that I hadn’t touched it since we moved in. I’d actually completely forgotten about the box–after two moves in three years, a lot of my possessions are still packed up in cartons from 2014, and this particular carton was packed up right before the last move a year ago.
I found several teas in the carton that I’d been looking for, including a Vietnamese artichoke leaf tea that is meant for summer drinking. Well, no artichoke tea got consumed this summer! I did find some samples of jinjunmei, or ‘golden beautiful eyebrow.’ These samples were sent to me for free with the purchase of tea. I don’t remember what I bought to get these samples, but I do remember the JJM sample I tried back then was surprisingly good.
Good jinjunmei certainly isn’t cheap, which is why the quality of the sample was such a surprise. Today the surprise was that there was a slit in the sample pack. I don’t know how that happened, but it is possible I accidentally sliced the pouch open when I slit the tape on the box yesterday!
The tea is much less aromatic than I remember it being a few years ago, but still has lovely malt-like character with a floral note to it. JJM is a subset of Wuyi zhengshan souchong, and therefore is quite similar to a good unsmoked souchong. Even with water just off the boil and brewed strong, the bitterness was very mild. I quite like Chinese hong cha (what Western folk call black tea) and a good JJM is hard to beat, but finding exceptional material isn’t quite as easy. I hope to find a good source for zhengshan souchong and jinjunmei I consider worthy of resale in 2018, but pu erh and oolong are still the focus of my business, of course!
This tea sample was brewed in the modern zhuni replica of a Mengchen siting pot you see above. This teapot is too large for Wuyicha, IMO, and has quite a slow pour of twenty seconds, so I decided to dedicate it to hongcha a while ago. I absolutely love siting teapots, and it was quite nice to put this one to use again! It’s been a while!