This is the last post of my three-part Chinese black tea comparisons from Master Teas! It has been a fun journey to see how vastly different and similar the teas have been.
To date, I have tasted Qimen Caixia and Tongmu Jin Jun Mei and the teas, both visually and taste-wise, have completely different. It has been great to compare the teas and examine each one closely since it also gave me a chance to showcase the farmers behind the teas.
(Source: United Nations)
This is extremely fitting since today is International Tea Day! I thought it was important to highlight the reason for this day. The resolution adopted by the United General Assembly on December 19, 2019, to designate May 21 as International Tea Day. This is as part of United Nations (“UN”)’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the UN states:
“The tea industry is a main source of income and export revenues for some of the poorest countries and, as a labour-intensive sector, provides jobs, especially in remote and economically disadvantaged areas. Tea can play a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction and food security in developing countries, being one of the most important cash crops. […]
The Day will promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favour of the sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.”
I admit this is an area I am not very familiar with so, if you would like to learn more, please read the adopted resolution or the website regarding the UN’s goals for sustainability, hunger, and poverty in the tea industry.
With that being said, thank you to everyone who is apart of the farming, processing, and production of tea and make it possible for everyone around the world to drink this beautiful beverage. I hope that we always keep this in mind, regardless if it is International Tea Day.
Now that we have highlighted the importance of today, let’s get into the review. I will be reviewing Jin Kong Que 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.
Left to right: Qimen Caixia (Auhui), Tongmu Jin Jun Mei (Fujian), and Jin Kong Que (Yunnan)
Description: “Its name, which translates to Golden Peacock, is as flashy as its namesake with fairly large, very golden leaves and leaf buds. The liquor does not disappoint as it boasts intricate notes of honey, toastiness, cocoa, and roasted sweet potato.”
Instructions: Steep at 212° for 2-3 minutes
Review: The tea was grown 1400-1600 meters above sea level and was harvested by hand by Farmer Zhao Ji Lin in May 2019, from 15-year-old trees. The tea is comprised of one bud, one leaf and was machine fired and roasted at 15-120 degrees celsius for an hour.
The dry leaves were wiry, fuzzy, and mostly golden orange with some dark brown segments. It smelled, sweet, warm, baked goods, and earthy. After infusing, the leaves were chocolate brown and mildly fruity and sweet.
Gong Fu Style
After adding the dry leaves to the warmed gaiwan, there was a sweet aroma of grains, malt, honey, woodsy, roasted and bread.
Infusion 1 (30 seconds): The liquor was a reddish-brown and smelled roasted and nutty. Taste-wise, it was delicate, sweet, earthy, and toasted and left the mouth dry. It was surprisingly sweeter when cooled.
Infusion 2 (45 seconds): After this infusion, the liquor was slightly more reddish brown and had a roasted earthy smell. It had the same sweet, fruity toasted notes from the first infusion with some dryness at the tail end of the sip. The leaves have unfurled.
Infusion 3 (60 seconds): The liquor remained a reddish-brown and had the same roasted smell as Infusion 2. The taste was fairly faint with some earthy and roasted notes but mostly astringency.
After infusing for 2 minutes, the liquor was a brown colour. The flavour was fairly faint with some sweet, earthy, fruity notes. Next time, it may require a bigger spoonful of tea since the leaves are so wiry. This may pull out more flavour.
This would be a nice tea for someone who likes black tea without the intense flavour it can come with. It is much more delicate than the other two teas. I personally like a stronger black tea but this one was still enjoyable (3/5 rating).
- Type: Black tea
- Origin: China, Yunnan
- Caffeine: High caffeine
- Ingredients: Black tea
- Company: Masters Teas (Masters by Adagiotes)
Interview with Farmer
How long have you been growing tea and what got your started?
My parents were tea farmers when I was a small boy. They brought me to the mountain when I was very young. So I loved the mountain and their job. I started to help them when I was 10. On my way to school we picked up the tea leaves every morning. As a result, I began to work when I was 18 after high school.
Can you describe a typical day out in the field?
Si Mao is a mountain area. I have to climb mountains to pick up the tea leaves. I normally go out around 7am in the morning and finish at noon. Then I will send the tea leaves to the primary factory.
What is your favorite part of growing tea?
I love mountains. I began to follow my parents to climb the mountains when I was very young. When I pick up tea leaves I am always very happy. I love the fresh smell.
Conversely, what is the hardest part of your job?
I am 53 now and I do not want to stop, but my knees are not going very well after so many years of climbing. Sometimes I am in pain for that. I do not know what I can do if I lost this job.
The question of the post: What do you think about International Tea Day?