Jinjunmei

Jinjunmei
Jinjunmei

Jinjunmei from Yin Xiang Hua Xia Tea.

Jinjunmei is a Black Tea from the Wuyi region of Fujian, specifically, a village named Tongmu.

Unlike traditional and smoked Lapsang teas, Jinjunmei is a relatively recent innovation.

“In 2006, another innovation took place in Tongmu. A Fujian official asked Jiang Yuanxun, the biggest manufacturer in Tongmu, to make some tea as a gift using bud tea and without the familiar smoking. The tea was made by Liange Junde, the tea master that worked for Mr Jiang at the time, and the tea Jin Jun Mei was born. In 2007, it went into production and rapidly became the most expensive black tea ever sold in China.”

Seven Cups Tea

Jinjunmei is essentially the type of early spring, carefully picked, all bud material that would normally be used for Silver Needle (or Baihao Yinzhen) White Tea. But, instead of being processed into White Tea, it is fully oxidized and then dried.

As I mentioned, Baihao Yinzhen, due to the labor necessary to carefully pick the individual spring tea buds, tends to be the most expensive of Chinese White Teas.

Making a Black Tea from this type of material is a true conspicuous luxury move.

The early flavors/scents are citrus-like. Secondary flavors evoke peach and pear. The aftertaste is subtle yet lengthy, returning to the citrus-like character, with a touch of mint-camphor overtone.

It is a lighter and subtler tea than the unsmoked Wild Lapsang, as you would expect from the material.

It is another great tea to try, whether it ends up being your favorite Black tea will be a matter of personal taste.

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Lapsang Wild Tea

Lapsang Wild Tea
Lapsang Wild Tea

Lapsang Wild Tea from Yin Xiang Hua Xia Tea.

The process for making Black Tea probably originated in Wuyi area of Fujian. There are different myths about it.

Allegedly, most tea was processed as green tea up until a raiding party invaded a Wuyi Mountain village during the tea harvest. The villagers fled from the raiders. When they came back they discovered that their tea had turned black. It was ruined! They dried it anyway and found that some people enjoyed it, especially, the English, (who would later go on to found entire tea industries in India and Sri Langka based on imitating this tea).

The difference between Green Tea and Black Tea IS that the leaves are allowed to oxidize before they are finally dried.

There is a type of Black Tea from Fujian that is usually called “Lapsang Souchong” in the West. Most often it is a tea that is dried over pine wood.

However, “traditional” Lapsang Souchong is not smoked, and even the more traditional smoky kinds have a lighter smoke character than you might expect.

This is not a smoked tea!

The early flavors remind me a bit of sweet potato, the middle flavors are stone fruit, and the late flavors and aftertaste are a bit menthol/tarragon.

It is a delicious and complex Black tea which rewards multiple steeps.

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