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Jin Jun Mei Comparison

August 1, 2018

This is a post I originally made on /r/tea, but re-purposed for my site.
As I start to post here more often, I hope to come back and do a “round 
two” Jin Jun Mei tasting where I drop out some of the weaker teas and 
add others that I haven’t tasted. This second round of tasting will 
include more detailed price comparisons, along with pictures and other 
things that people had asked for in the comments. For now, this is a 
word-for-word recreation of my original post.

My Opinions on Various Types of Jin Jun Mei

I’m not a professional tea reviewer, and not as studied in tea as many 
other people on /r/tea; however, I decided I wanted to try a few types 
of Jin Jun Mei and let others know how I felt about them. I know there 
is a lot of opinions and thoughts on “real” Jin Jun Mei, and I suppose I
should preface this with knowledge that I have never been to Wuyishan or
even the Fujian province. I ordered all of my tea over the Internet 
based on teas that I had seen recommended to other users, and had to 
rely on information provided from the reviews, sellers, and 
distributors. My opinions are not about how close these teas are to 
“true” Jin Jun Mei, but my opinions on teas that are called Jin Jun Mei 
by various sellers/distributors.

I tasted all of these teas Gong Fu style, using ~5g to a 120ml gaiwan, 
and a water temperature between 195F and 205F. Infusions were usually 
done at 10sec increments, increasing by ~5sec for subsequent infusions. 
When provided, I used the seller/distributors’ instructions; but these 
are pretty general numbers and amounts.

Overall Rankings

RankingCompanyTea
1Wuyi Origin2017 Jinjunmei (honey aroma) Grade A
2MeileafGleaming Brow
3Old Ways TeaJin Jun Mei
4Verdant TeaTieguanyin Jin Jun Mei
5Yunnan SourcingPure Gold Jin Jun Mei
6Yezi TeaJin Jun Mei
7Life In TeacupWuyi Jin Jun Mei
8Verdant Tea2017 Togmu Reserve Jin Jun Mei
9TealyraJin Jun Mei Lapsang Golden Eyebrow

Tasting Notes

Wuyi Origin – 2017 Jinjunmei (honey aroma) Grade A

There were actually two teas that I tried from Wuyu Origin – the 2017 
Jinjunmei (honey aroma) Grade A and 2017 Jinjunmei (honey aroma). I 
think they were very similar, with the Grade A being a bit sweeter, and 
maybe a bit more flavorful overall? The Wuyi Origin Jin Jun Mei is 
probably my favorite tea in general – I like this more than any others 
that I’ve tried (any kind of green, black, puerh, etc.). The dry leaf 
has notes of sweet bread, wood, and some kind of nuts (maybe almonds). 
After a rinse, the wet leaf has strong notes of chocolate and raisins. 
It still retains some of the notes of sweet breads/pastries that you 
could smell from the dry leaf as well. A first infusion has a great 
flavor – a subtle sweetness. Things like rose water, and sweet pastries 
come to mind. The taste is clean, and (maybe disappointingly) the tea 
doesn’t exactly “coat” my mouth like some other more oily feeling teas 
would. Later infusions dull the sweetness, but a constant taste of fresh
bread remains. Overall, this tea was relatively cheap compared to some 
of the other ones I’ve tried, which makes it easy for me if I want to 
get some more.

I would highly recommend this tea – even if you weren’t looking to try 
Jin Jun Mei.
10/10

Meileaf – Gleaming Brow

This was a very good tea; albeit, very expensive. The dry leaf and wet 
leaf were very similar; both had strong chocolatey notes, and maybe some
raisin/plumb. Compared to the other ones I tried, this was probably the 
sweetest, and had the longest lasting sweetness over multiple infusions.
This was similar to the Wuyi Origin one in that it had notes that 
reminded me of rose water and pastries. There were some more chocolate 
and earthy notes that came with later infusions. This one definitely did
leave the feeling that my mouth had a coating of tea after drinking. It 
was nice, and very smooth overall.

I liked this tea, but it is very expensive in my opinion – I enjoyed it 
a lot, but it would be difficult to convince myself to buy it again 
based on price alone.
10/10

Old Ways Tea – Jin Jun Mei

This was a beautiful tea, with many more golden buds than the Wuyi 
Origin or Meileaf teas. This worried me a bit because I had heard about 
teas being picked too early so that there would be more golden buds; 
however, I don’t think this affected the tea negatively. The dry and wet
leaf was very earthy and had strong nutty notes, with some minor 
grape/raisin notes. The flavor was not as sweet as others, but still 
very tasty. I would say that this one was a bit more earthy with more 
subtle sweet notes, which didn’t change a huge amount through to later 
infusions. The sweetness may have actually intensified after the second 
infusions, which brought out a lot of grape-like flavor. I think this 
was closer to the later infusions of the Meileaf Gleaming Brow.

I would definitely recommend trying this tea out, even if it isn’t as 
sweet as the others.
8/10

Verdant Tea – Tieguanyin Jin Jun Mei

The dry leaf smelled like wood, with some subtle sweet notes. This will 
sound somewhat strange, but it also reminded me of the scent of a Lipton
tea bag. The wood notes were probably the strongest. The wet leaf 
smelled very different, and the sweeter notes of raisins/grapes and 
plumbs came out. The taste was okay, but not as good as the others. 
There was a kind of “generic black tea” flavor to it, with the same 
raisin/grape notes from the scent of the wet leaves. There was a bit of 
a bread-like taste as well, but the aftertaste was very smokey and 
malty.

Overall not necessarily a bad tea, but not necessarily as good as the 
other Jin Jun Mei I’ve had.
6/10

Yunnan Sourcing – Pure Gold Jin Jun Mei

This tea seemed to have too many golden buds – so many that the first 
few infusions (after a wash) completely clogged my filter with the 
clumped up golden hairs. The smell of the leaf was very strong, and had 
some obvious sweet notes, but maybe some smokey notes as well. I did not
enjoy the first few infusions, and it seemed to leave a bad taste in my 
mouth. Later infusions tasted closer to a generic Lapsang Souchong than 
a Jin Jun Mei (at least compared to the other Jin Jun Mei I’ve had).

While this tea looked amazing because of how golden it was, and how the 
gold buds contrasted the very dark buds, I wouldn’t necessarily 
recommend it.
5/10

Yezi Tea – Jin Jun Mei

The dry leaf had a strong notes of nuts and wood, with some “generic 
Lipton tea bag” notes as well. Water brought out some chocolatey and 
spicy notes, with subtle notes of raisins. With later infusions, the tea
had a kind of smokey scent, but it never impacted the taste of the tea. 
The taste was okay with notes of chocolate and raisins, but the 
aftertaste was very “clean” and the flavor was not very lasting. Overall
the tea seemed kind of thin, and upon closer inspection of the leaves, I
realized that there was a large number of twigs/sticks in the “leaf.” 
This is very disappointing because it detracts from the taste of the 
tea. While the taste had some potential, it wasn’t nearly strong enough 
to give a good review in my opinion.
4/10

Life In Teacup – Wuyi Jin Jun Mei

Kind of continuing along the lines of teas that are less sweet than the 
others, the dry leaf in the Life In Teacup Wuyi Jin Jun Mei had a very 
smokey and musty scent. There were some nutty/almond notes, and maybe a 
bit of chocolate as well; but the smokey notes were a bit stronger. I’d 
also note that there were many broken leaves in the package I received. 
This may have been because the tea had been shipped in an envelope 
rather than a box like most of the other ones I had gotten. I cannot say
that this did not impact the my opinion of the tea, as I do not 
typically drink tea with so many broken leaves. The wet leaf was closer
to the scent of other Jin Jun Mei that I’ve had, with sweeter 
raisin/grape notes, and subtle chocolate notes. The flavor was not bad,
but definitely had a smokey taste similar to the smokey taste you get 
from a gunpowder green tea. There were also notes of some kind of spice 
and maybe pepper? The aftertaste was not bad, and kind of “clean” with 
no mouth coating.

This wasn’t really my cup of tea.
4/10

Verdant Tea – 2017 Togmu Reserve Jin Jun Mei

This was unlike the other Verdant Jin Jun Mei that I had, and surprised 
me quite a bit. The dry leaf had a very sweet bread-like scent with 
notes of wood and nuts. The wet leaf was similar to others with a bit of
a chocolatey scent with subtle notes of raisins/plumbs. The taste of the
tea was actually very good as well, with some lite grape-like notes and 
maybe some hazelnut nuttiness. There was also a slight coffee-like taste
that was surprisingly good in later infusions. After the first few 
infusions, I definitely tasted notes of what I buttery biscuits which 
was very surprising.

The one thing that was very off putting from this tea was the 
aftertaste. It was very smokey and eventually tasted very strongly of 
cigarettes. The taste of the actual tea was very good, but this strong 
cigarette aftertaste lingered. The aftertaste heavily impacted my 
opinion of this tea, as it would have been much higher in my list had it
not existed.
3/10

Tealyra – Jin Jun Mei Lapsang Golden Eyebrow

This was the biggest surprise out of the bunch. I do not like to talk 
very negatively about tea or different companies, but I do not have 
anything positive to say about this tea. As soon as I opened the 
package, I was hit with a strong campfire scent. After weighing and 
dumping out the leaf, the entire room was filled with the strong smokey 
scent and a fake bacon-like scent. It was strong enough that other 
people in my house commented on the scent; and pouring hot water on the 
leaf only made the scent stronger. Smelling the wet leaf directly, I 
couldn’t pull out any sweet notes; there was only fake bacon and 
barbecue sauce. I didn’t drink more than four infusions before I decided
to throw it away. The taste was basically like a smokey barbecue sauce, 
with an aftertaste of a generic black tea.

After throwing it out, and washing (with hot water) and wiping out my 
tea ware, the scent still lingered. I ended up having to use a very mild
detergent and scrubbing quite a bit to get the scent out.

I would not recommend this tea.
0/10


Summary

Would you rank any of these differently? If you’ve been to Fujian and 
have actually tried Jin Jun Mei while you were there, would you compare 
any of these to the taste you experienced? I know that Jin Jun Mei is 
sometimes a… touchy (?) subject due to the nature of what is considered 
“real” and what is not. Although other peoples opinions might differ 
from mine, I thought this could be useful for other people who may want 
to try some teas that are listed as Jin Jun Mei.