Zhengshan Jin Jun Mei Golden Eyebrows Black Tea
€12,20 – €41,30
Zhengshan Jin Jun Mei Golden Eyebrows is a pure spring bud black tea from the “zhengshan” area of Wuyishan, Fujian Province, China. The fresh scent of the tea already gives an idea of its high sweetness and the spicy aroma of ripe summer fruits (longan). The full-bodied taste of the bright red infusion consists of a multifaceted complex of spicy-sweet and chocolaty-fruity flavors. The intensely fruity aftertaste still lingers on the gourmet’s palate even long after drinking .
For more information and illustrations please refer to the detailed product description below.
Zhengshan Jin Jun Mei Golden Eyebrows Black Tea
Jin Jun Mei (=”Golden Eyebrows”) is Chinese black tea of relatively recent invention. Just like Lapsang Souchong, it comes from Wuyishan, a mountain range in the north of the Chinese province of Fujian. ‘Zhengshan’ means ‘Original Mountain’, referring to a specific area in the Lapsang region of Wuyishan: the area around the village of Tong Mu has long been known for its special, Wuyi terroir coined black teas.
Picking and processing
The picking of Jin Jun Mei Golden Eyebrows is restricted to a few days before the Chinese Qingming Festival. Because only during this time do the tea bushes in Wuyishan produce the first young spring buds, which define the picking standard for this tea. That is, the picking standard of our Zhengshan Jin Jun Mei Golden Eyebrows is “pure bud”. This means that only the still unopened young bud is qualified for picking. The traditional handpicking is subject to strict selection criteria and is extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive. This is because it takes several thousands of the tiny young buds to produce just 1kg of tea.
Like the picking, most of the processing steps are still done by hand. At this, the first processing step is the withering of the freshly plucked tea leaves. Next comes a mechanical rolling process for breaking up the leaf surfaces and initiate the oxidation process. During the rolling process, oxidation processes already set in. Then, a third step is the actual oxidation, with the tea leaves now resting in layers 15-20cm thick. Once the oxidation process has reached its peak, the last step is roasting in a wok pan over charcoal fire for the purposes of fixation and final drying.
Taste and appearance
The dry leaves have an evenly dark color, contrasted by a high share of golden tips. Fragrance and taste are reminiscent of that of the sweet Longan fruit native to China. The fresh scent of the tea already suggests its high sweetness and the spicy aroma of ripe summer fruits. The full-bodied taste of the bright red infusion consists of a multifaceted complex of spicy-sweet and chocolaty-fruity flavors. At this, the intensely fruity aftertaste lingers on the gourmet’s palate even long after it has been enjoyed.
There are basically two possible approaches for preparing Zhengshan Jin Jun Mei Golden Eyebrows.
On the one hand, this is the western approach of preparing black tea in one to a maximum of 2 infusions. To do this, pour boiling water (90-100°C) over ca. 3g tea leaves per 100ml. Then, depending on your personal taste preference, let steep for 3-5 minutes for a full-bodied, delicious, first infusion with intense flavor. After another 5 minutes of steeping, a second infusion is hardly inferior to the first in terms of taste.
“Gong Fu” approach
The other principle preparation approach is the Chinese “Gong Fu Cha” preparation over several infusions, each with a shorter brewing time. The approach thrives on a comparatively high dosage of > 3g/100ml at a boiling hot infusion temperature. The duration of individual infusions and the total number of possible infusions depend on the selected dosage. In practice, the approach therefore always requires some eagerness to experiment.
Wuyishan – a special ‘terroir’ for tea
The unsually high mineral content of the volcanic soil has earned Wuyi’s Oolong teas the designation as ‘rock teas’. However, the same rocky soils are also coining for the taste of Lapsang black teas. Starting from the time of the Tang dynasty, tea from Wuyishan enjoyed great appreciation as an imperial ‘tribute tea’. The nutrient-rich Wuyi soils are responsible for a particularly high content of vitamins and minerals. Today, the special terroir is under the protection of ‘UNESCO World Heritage’ status. The protection relates to the fields nature, landscape and culture. In this respect, UNESCO has defined several zones with different levels of protection and weighting of the above-mentioned fields.
For detailed information about Wuyishan, Wuyi teas and cultivation zones, also read my dedicated article in Siam Tea Blog:
“Fujians Wuyi Mountains – Home of Rock Teas”
tea gardens in Wuyi zhengshan territory
Lapsang Souchong – origin, legend and background
According to legend, the discovery of Lapsang Souchong tea owes to mere coincidence…
The legend takes place at the times of the Qing dynasty, China’s last imperial dynasty lasting from 1644-1912. Back then, it supposedly happened that the inhabitants of Tongmu village once got under attack. This forced them to dry their tea leaves much quicker than usual. In order to achieve this, they decided to heat the tea leaves over the hearth fire of burning pine wood.
Later then, they found the resulting smoke aroma and flavor to be very tasteful. And from thereon, the intial error established as a new method. In particular, smoked Lapsang Souchong quickly established a a popular variant among Westerners. In China, however, the practice of camouflaging minor quality tea with smoke aroma, soon became a widespread practice. As a result, Lapsang Souchong black was long considered as a “poor-man’s-tea” among the Chinese themselves.
Development of Lapsang black tea since 1979
The scene underwent drastic change, when Tongmu village in 1979 became a UNESCO World Heritage site. As a consequence of this, the value of the cropland within the UNESCO protection zone multiplied within no time. This in turn made the production of cheap tea unprofitable, thereby effecting a shift towards higher quality. Part of the set of restrictions coming with the World Heritage status was a strict ban on pesticide use within the UNESCO protection zone. As an effect, this further contributed to higher selectivity of crop and processing quality. In parallel, from a consumer’s perspective, it also provided a desirable warranty of health qualities. Plus, both the natural enviroment and tea quality greatly benefit from keeping the soil free of pesticides.
Ever since, the production of Lapsang tea in Tongmu village and the surrounding mountains has mainly developed into two directions. On the one hand, this is the Classic Lapsang Souchong. Though sticking to the classic processing scheme, there’s an upgrade to this through using higher quality tea and leaf grades. On the other hand, part of the focus has shifted to quality non-smoked Lapsang black teas. One of these came abut during the 1990’s under the name of Lapsang Jin Jun Mei. For this particular branch of Lapsang black teas, only the young spring buds qualify for picking
25g, 50g, 100g
Terri (verified owner) –
Delicious tea! Prepared western style as directed. I’m not a tea connoisseur, but I am a huge fan of great tea and this one is very smooth and has a sweetness to it that is unlike any tea I’ve tried before. I like a full bodied tea and prefer Pu Erhs… but I LIKE this tea!
Joel Stern (verified owner) –
I would characterise this tea as possessing refinement; more subtle and restrained than some of the bolder Fujian or Dianhong black teas. There are chocolate and malt tones, and a very subtle background smokiness, which, in this tea, enhances its character. Very happy that I ordered this tea.
H M Asif Abdullah –
This is the tea. I am now addicted to the wet leaf smell. I keep nosing it. Big fan of the after taste.