While I’m at it, I may as well crank out another of these review things. This was yet another of my summer Old Ways Tea sample sipdowns, Before I get into the meat of this review, allow me to state that I almost always love the Jin Jun Mei offered by Old Ways Tea. While Jin Jun Mei is not my favorite style of Chinese black tea (it’s not even my favorite style of Wuyi black tea), the Jin Jun Mei Old Ways offers just consistently does it for me. This tea did not buck that trend. So far, it has been my favorite of the Old Ways Jin Jun Mei I have tried.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse (about 5-6 seconds), I steeped 5 grams of loose tea buds in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds presented aromas of baked bread, clove, pine, caramel, molasses, cinnamon, malt, and juniper. After the rinse, aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, tangerine zest, butter, and lemon zest appeared. The first infusion added a slight black pepper aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered strong notes of baked bread, roasted almond, pine, juniper, tangerine zest, lemon zest, malt, and marshmallow that were balance by hints of caramel, grass, butter, cinnamon, and black pepper. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of chocolate, marshmallow, honey, violet, candied orange peel, and minerals, as well as a subtle grassy scent. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of caramel, cinnamon, butter, and roasted peanut appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, honey, chocolate, pear, red apple, cream, violet, and candied orange peel. I also noted hints of plum, clove, and molasses. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to offer notes of minerals, cream, baked bread, tangerine zest, malt, lemon zest, and marshmallow that were chased by fleeting hints of roasted almond, grass, caramel, butter, black pepper, chocolate, and roasted peanut.
This was very much not what I was expecting. I figured that I would get a very balanced tea with a ton of baked bread, honey, and spice notes, but instead this tea was floral, sweet, fruity, and almost syrupy in places. I know that the previous reviewer felt this tea had almost a bug-bitten quality, and well, I can kind of see it. It also reminded me of both a wild Jin Jun Mei and a Mei Zhan Jin Jun Mei. Whatever the case may be, this tea was very different from the standard teas of this type. Aside from being unique, it was also very enjoyable and memorable. I am now hoping that the 2019 Old Ways Jin Jun Mei will be able to compete with it.
Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Butter, Candy, Caramel, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Citrus Zest, Clove, Cream, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Pear, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Violet