Two weeks ago, I started my three-part series comparing Chinese black teas from Masters Teas by Adagio Teas. This is part-two with a black tea from Fujian.
Earlier this month, I tasted Qimen Caixia, a black tea that was picked at the end of April 2019 in Anhui, China, like the Tongmu Jin Jun Mei. The Tongmu Jin Jun Mei was grown in the high mountain village of Tongmu. The buds were hand-plucked from farmer Wang Xiang Feng and hand-fired for 15 minutes.
Left to right: Qimen Caixia (Auhui), Tongmu Jin Jun Mei (Fujian), and Jin Kong Que (Yunnan)
I will be reviewing Tongmu Jin Jun Mei using two methods, gong fu and western style. This is because the website mentions the teas can be infused 3 times, but also provides 2-3 minute infusion recommendations.
With all that information, let’s go!
Description: “This 2019 Jin Jun Mei is a rare black tea from the high mountain village of Tongmu in Fujian, the birthplace of black tea. It is a mix of young golden and very dark leaves. The dry aroma is that of hops, cocoa, and spice.”
Instructions: Steep at 212° for 2-3 minutes.
Review: The dry leaves were thin, twisted and made of black fuzzy buds with golden tips. The dry leaves smelled sweet, malty, honey, and earthy. When the leaves were warmed in the pre-heated gaiwan, it was reminiscent of baked goods, molasses, and warm toast. After infusing, the wet leaves had a molasses, honey, and baked goods smell.
Gong Fu Style
Infusion 1 (30 seconds): The golden reddish liquor had a baked bread smell and there were small baby hairs from the leaves floating in the liquor. The liquor tasted of cocoa, honey, baked goods, bread, molasses with some earthiness and dryness at the tail end of the sip.
Infusion 2 (45 seconds): The liquor was slightly darker red and still smelled of bread with a mixture of earth and campfire. The liquor was more woodsy, with some underlying sweetness, bready and a hint of toastiness. There was some dryness at the end of the sip.
Infusion 3 (60 seconds): For the final infusion, the liquor was more of a reddish-brown. Like Infusion 2, the liquor was a mixture of earthy and bread taste with some astringency. The liquor was quite faint at this point and the leaves have unfurled.
I tried this tea a few times, and I found that tea became more woodsy overtime and tasted less like baked goods. This may have been because near the bottom of the bag, there were smaller pieces which may have brought out more earthy notes compared to the bigger buds.
I steeped this for 2 minutes using 1 teaspoon of tea and 1 cup of 212° water. The liquor was a reddish-orange and had a fresh bread smell. The liquor tasted bready, sweet, earthy and cocoa. Occasionally, there were honey and floral notes. The liquor was easy to drink and really enjoyable.
Similar to what I said for Qimen Caixia, I enjoyed the gong fu style more because it brought out a wider range of flavours. I find myself really enjoying black teas that lean on the sweeter side. I would like to try this tea again because as I am writing this review, I am missing the tea, but I sadly have none left (4/5 rating)!
Interview with Farmer
(Source: Masters Teas)
The Master Teas website also include some Q&A with each of the farmers, I decided to include some of the questions:
How long have you been growing tea and what got your started?
I just started to work with tea two years ago when I married to my husband. His family is a tea family, so I also want to go with my husband to work in tea.
Can you describe a typical day out in the field?
I work from 7 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon.
What is your favorite part of growing tea?
Our tea farm is in the Wuyi natural protection area. You cannot enter without permission. I love to work in the natural area. Everything is clean, the trees are green, the air is fresh.
Conversely, what is the hardest part of your job?
I hate bad weather. If it is too cold, our tea buds and tender leaves will be damaged. If it is raining hard, the moisture will be too high to make good tea.
- Type: Black tea
- Origin: China, Fujian
- Caffeine: High caffeine
- Ingredients: Black tea
- Company: Masters Teas (Masters by Adagiotes)
The question of the post: What is your go-to black tea?