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Jin Jun Mei

The story of Jin Jun Mei began with an interesting talk between Mr. Jiang Yuan Xun and two tea businessmen from Beijing. They all realized that, unlike all other tea types, there was not a single high end black tea in the market. All the black teas are made with mature leaves. What would it taste like if the black tea is made with buds only? Inspired to produce a top grade black tea, Mr. Jiang Yuan Xun and his team set their minds to experimenting. This was the same path that, hundreds years ago, his ancestors also took when inventing the very first black tea in the world – Lapsang Souchong. After several years of trying, they successfully invented a process that can provoke the best flavour from the tea buds without ruining their shape. It was 2005, and the tea is the one that is now well known in the black tea world as the best – Jin Jun Mei.
The name of Jin Jun Mei (金 – gold, 骏 – beautiful horse, 眉 – eyebrow) actually tells you something about the tea. Jin (gold), though can be a character for color, in this case represents its quality and rareness. This connotation comes from the ancient times when gold is rare and precious. You may have also heard of Yin (Silver) Jun Mei which is a level below Jin Jun Mei. Yin (silver) in this case is the same, a hint of the grade of the tea instead of the color. Therefore, authentic Jin Jun Mei doesn’t have that much golden color in the dry leaves as many people assume. There are two stories to explain the meaning of the character ‘Jun’ (beautiful horse) in the name. One version says it is named after the process master. The other version explains this word as a good wish for the tea. The horse has a good connotation in Chinese, meaning success or things quickly moving in a good direction. Mei (eyebrow) depicts the shape of the tea – the tea buds are slightly curled just like an eyebrow shape.

Jin Jun Mei close up
Jin Jun Mei brewed leaves

Jin Jun Mei grows in the Wuyishan National Nature Reserve which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, because of its cultural and scenic value. The tea was invented based on the traditional process of Lapsang Souchong. Using the most delicate part of the plant, this handpicked tea requires 60,000~80,000 tea buds to produce 500g tea.

The authentic Jin Jun Mei has a compact cord-like look. Lightly covered with fine hair, the tea is stout and strong. The glossy colors of gold, yellow and dark tea leaves transform into a warm golden-bronze liquor after brewed. The dark gold liquid has a distinctive bright golden ring around the edge of the cup and eschews a complex flavor of fruits, flowers, honey, and “sweet potato”. Upon first sip you feel a sweetness. The characteristic high mountain flavor hides under a fresh brisk, bright and comfortable liquid which opens your mind and makes you feel like you are walking in a forest in a deep and secluded valley. The sumptuous flavour fills the entire mouth and nose and remains pleasantly. Even the empty tea cup has an enduring and aromatic story to tell, provoking different images if you smell the tea cup when it’s piping hot, comfortable warm, or back at room temperature. Even after many infusions, you can still enjoy a full-bodied flavor with sweetness, and the tea buds are still vigorous and lustrous.

Jin Jun Mei liquor

With its perfection in every aspect of tea tasting, Jin Jun Mei is a black tea that you have to try if you claim to be a black tea lover. But be cautious, this is also a tea that could ruin your experience with other black teas because they may seem to be less good once you tried Jin Jun Mei.

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