Wuyi Jin Jun Mei opened a new world for black tea in China, you can not imagine black tea can be so gorgeous so noble before. It was June 2005, in several Beijing customers’ proposal, a team grouped up and finally successfully created Jin Jun Mei black tea.
This team included Jiang Yuanxun (owner of Zheng Shan Tea), Gong Yaling (owner of Zhong Yuan Sheng Tai) and executor Liang Junde (Senior maker of Zheng Shan Tea), they even wrote a Jun Mei Act so other farmers can exactly follow the processing technicals. As a result, it got a very big success by 2007, no matter who they are, the whole society would be proud of being able to drink this tea.
In Chinese, ‘Jin’ is Gold, ‘Jun’ is high mountain and ‘Mei’ is brow (symbol of longevity), it’s made up of early buds only, to get 1 gram dried Jin Jun Mei, you will need 108 tea buds, and this buds can only come from local varietal in Tong Mu Village.
This local varietal is called Cai Cha, they do not grow neatly, conversely they are very casual and wildly planted. The top of this village is 1400 meters high, it’s fully surrounded by forest and bamboo. You can not enter this area as a tourist, the checkpoint will stop you.
Tong Mu Village is the birth place of Lapsang Souchong, and now is for Jin Jun Mei. The success of Jin Jun Mei is absolutely about the great environment, local plant resources and long tradition tea making craft. So even fake Jin Jun Mei is blooming, you can still easily figure out the truth.
The most three kinds of fake Jin Jun Mei comes from Mei Zhan varietal, Fu An Big White and Fu Yun No.6. Mei Shan bud is too big, the other two are lack of Cha Qi, as they are newly planted and Tong mu Village Cai Cha are all very old. Besides don’t buy yellowish one.
In 2007 two companies applied for the registration of trade mark but being rejected, it’s being told Jin Jun Mei was a common name for the whole industry. Zheng Shan Tea insisted and instituted an action at law, this lawsuit takes 6 years and in 2013 the Beijing High Court sentenced a same result.
Something interesting is in 2008 Liang Junde who was senior maker of Zheng Shan Tea quitted and built a company named Junde Tea, you can see their ads all around Wuyi and claimed who is the right inventor.
Before 2005, most of black teas are for export even Keemun & Yunnan, it’s hardly to find a black tea in civil market; The success of Jin Jun Mei waked up the whole black tea industry, adjusted the reputation of black tea, right now black tea has become one of the best choices for gift.
Some old famous black teas came back to life because of Jin Jun Mei, like Ning Hong in Jiangxi, Yi Hong in Si Chuan, Zhenghe Gongfu in Fujian, Jiuqu Hongmei in Hangzhou. One thing I will complain is a lot of these black teas taste like Xiao Zhong (unsmoked Lapsang), sure they are different but you can find they share the same core.
A surprise I find in recent years is more and more experiments are applied on black tea, especially the mix of black & oolong, like Red Rock who is made up of Wuyi rock tea varietals, Iron Buddha leaves are made into Golden Buddha black tea too, these oolong plants bring its special characters into black tea and make this black world be more colorful.
It’s also a tour of future, take a China Tea Tour can be a witness. We will visit the house where Jin Jun Mei was invented, talk to the inventor and cup a lot of great teas.