Jin Jun Mei - black tea

Style   Black Tea
Origin   Chen Family Farm, Wuyishan Rock Village, Fujian, China
Season   8 April 2014
Altitude   500m
Batch   TCJ1
Tea Master   Master Wu

A contemporary Chinese tea with fantastic depth of flavour reflecting the famous Wuyi terroir. Hand harvested and rolled, this rare black tea is medium bodied with a lingering finish. An astonishing combination of sweet, fruity and savoury. Reinfuse up to four times.

  90 degrees Celsius 
  1 x tablespoon (3 grams)

150 ml water (small tea cup)


Infuse for 1 minute

The Stories We Drink

The Chen family has been growing tea on their land in Wyui for three generations, starting with Grandfather Chen. Their plants are more than 100 years old. Granddaughter Chen helps manage the garden along with Grandfather Chen, Uncle Chen, the Chen Cousins and Master Zhou (Granddaughter Chen’s husband who married into the family).

Grandaughter Chen and Master Zhou have recently welcomed the fourth generation to the tea garden with the birth of their baby. The immediate and extended family are all involved in crafting tea and maintaining their meticulous standards and quality. The Chen family has small plots of tea plants growing in a few different locations throughout the village which they pluck specifically for different teas.

Jin Jun Mei is a highly coveted contemporary Chinese black tea. It is both rare and prestigious. Traditional jin jun mei is grown in Tomogu village in miniscule quantities. It is near impossible to source and not readily available outside of the exclusive circles of China’s elite. Foreigners are often not allowed to enter the village.

As a result, farmers in closely surrounding areas have started to produce some exceptional tippy jin jun mei. We are fortunate to have acquired Master Wu’s. Master Wu’s hometown is Tomogu Village so he has an excellent understanding of the authentic tea.

Because Master Wu’s tea is grown and processed about an hour away from Tomogu, it can’t be considered an authentic jin jun mei (just like sparkling wine not grown in Champagne isn’t truly Champagne). However it is an exceptional imitation enjoying very similar provenance and excellent characteristics.

Because of the exclusivity of Tomogu jin jun mei, regrettably there are lots of very poor quality imitations being produced all over China, marketed as jin jun mei and sold at extremely inflated prices. Most retailers have no idea they are selling imitations. 

It’s important to consider the different levels of authenticity when buying jin jun mei. Like Tomogu, the Chan Family’s garden is in the Wuyishan Scenic Area, a limited space that is strictly pesticide free - this is imposed by government regulations to protect the historic area.

Because of the close proximity, to Tomogu the soil is considered zhengyan (rocky land with a very high mineral content). It is this zhengyan land that is part of the overall definition of the most authentic Wuyi teas. 

Jin jun mei is sometimes called Golden Handsome Eyebrow and is characterised by golden tips in the dry leaf. Exceptional jin jun mei should have about 30% golden buds and small, dark, glossy leaves with a limited amount of fur. There is a gold grade (Jin) and a silver grade (Yin). Here you have access to the superior gold grade jin jun mei. 

You can learn more about jin jun mei, the Chens and authenticity and imitation here.


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These jin jun mei leaves are grown, harvested and crafted on the Chen family garden in the Wuyi Mountain area of Fujian Provence in China. The terroir of Wuyi Rock Village is revered around the world thanks to the mineral rich soil which results in deliciously smooth characters in the liquor. Learn more about terroir here.


Plucking: The uppermost tea tips are picked with careful precision. It is generally agreed that around 50,000 buds must to be plucked to produce just 500 grams of this tea. On average, one experienced tea plucker harvests about 2,000 buds a day. This means it takes considerable work to produce tiny quantities.


Sorting: Once plucked the leaves are taken straight back to the Chen’s home where the extended family sorts through them by hand for impurities. Any leaves not up to their high quality standards are removed.


Withering: The remaining tips are laid out and withered to remove some of their moisture content. The leaves are carefully watched and as soon as they turn a particular shade of brown they have lost the correct amount of moisture and are ready for rolling.


Rolling: The tips are then rolled by a machine the Chen’s own that creates the very tight, fine shape you see in the dry leaf. After about an hour of rolling, the cell walls have begun to break down enough that the juice of the leaves starts flowing out. As soon as this happens Master Chen stops rolling.


Oxidisation: Next, the leaves are placed on a wet cloth to protect the remaining moisture, before being placed in a basket which allows for proper ventilation during the oxidation process. This usually takes about 15 hours.


Drying: Master Chen’s expert eye detects exactly when the leaves are the right colour (a dark, reddish-black with a hint of green) and the tea is then baked to finish the oxidisation and set the flavour.


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