Recently we looked at Yellow Tea, what started out as a brief introduction to the Jun Shan Yin Zhen being covered in today's blog escalated into an article in its own right.
Yellow Tea is a fascinating and complex type of tea and I highly suggest giving the introduction a read before moving on. If you walked away from reading that article wanting to know more about Nannuoshan's Jun Shan Yin Zhen, then do I have a treat for you!
Made in the traditional way, you can tell from looking at the delicate needles that this tea has been properly yellowed for most likely a week in time. The leaves are a lovely yellow color, if they were yellowed for less time the coloring would be more silver and closely resemble a Silver Needle White Tea.
"This tea has been properly yellowed for most likely a week in time."
Sniffing the dry leaves reveals a complex blend of aroma notes, starting with tomato leaf and dried tomatoes and quickly shifting to wet hay, okra, starchy sweet corn, cooked cabbage, and a touch of distant woodiness. The corn and dried tomato add a sweetness to an otherwise savory smelling tea, balancing it out.
This versatile tea can be brewed however you choose, though I feel it really shines when brewed in a gaiwan, which is how this showcase will present it. The aroma of the now wet leaves loses most of its sweetness and really showcases the savory aspect with notes of okra, tomato, and corn with a touch of wet hay. The aroma reminds me a bit of the classic Southern US dish gumbo, which is a fascinating way for a tea to smell. The liquid's aroma is sweet and light, blending notes of sweet corn and okra with a gentle wildflower and hay finish.
The taste of the first steep is quite wonderful, it starts with a smooth mouthfeel, no dryness or bitterness to be found anywhere, just smooth texture with a slightly cooling finish. The taste starts sweet, blending sweet corn and wildflowers with a building okra note.
"No dryness or bitterness to be found anywhere."
The midtaste has a blend of okra and hay with a touch of cabbage and a gentle note of lima beans, adding to the starchy quality of corn. The aftertaste is wildflowers and sweet corn and it lingers, it is one of the best qualities about this tea is how long the aftertaste lingers.
Later steeps bring an intense sweetness of raw honey complete with a gentle undertone of pollen. The sweetness lingers well into the aftertaste but along the way mixes with notes of hay and sweet corn with a gentle green note of cucumbers and okra. This tea will last for many steeps, by the final steeps the green notes have faded entirely leaving gentle lingering sweetness. It is both full flavored and complex while being light and nuanced, meaning it can be suitable for seasoned tea drinkers as well as those new to the leaf.
One thing that I found really made this tea stand out is its versatility, it really can be brewed any way with a tasty response. Brewing a large pot western style will get you a sweet and starchy tea with notes of corn and okra, though it does lose some of the subtleties this way.
"A sweet and starchy tea with notes of corn and okra."
It behaves very well when brewed bowl style or in a travel infuser, being left in the water and topping off with fresh water as needed, as it maintains its sweetness and never falls to bitterness. If you want to delve into the world of Yellow Tea you really cannot go wrong with this Jun Shan Yin Zhen.
Written by Amanda, Independent Blogger at My Thoughts Are Like Butterflies Tea Blog.