Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tea Tasting Week #6 - Jin Shan (Jin Mountain)

Too bad it's not time for the February 14 tea tasting yet, because I took one sip of this tea and thought, "I'm in love!" Although I *want* to love green tea (the amazing health benefits alone are reason enough), it simply has not been a favorite. This time I didn't use too much leaf, I didn't let it steep too long, and wow -- I can't believe I prepared this myself!

And one more comment: Any day now, I keep thinking, all these tea leaves will start to look alike and I'll probably quit including a photo with my Saturday tea tasting post. But this week, once again, the appearance surprised me. You just never know what you're going to find in a package of tea, do you?

Name of tea:
Jin Shan

Category: Green Tea

Purveyor: Harney & Sons

When purchased: January 2009

Dry leaf appearance: "Wiry" is the word that sprang to mind when I opened this sample packet. Lots of deep hunter green little wiry tea leaves.

Wet leaf appearance: Medium to bright green, elegant tea leaves. And I picked up one of them and realized aha, two leaves and a bud! It was a textbook leaf-and-bud illustration!

Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 175 degrees, 2 minutes (plus, I got FIVE additional steepings from this one teaspoon of Jin Shan)

Scent: Again a vegetal scent ("vegetal" being my fancy word for "just a notch above grass-like"). But there was also a distinct note of something pleasantly fruity.

Color: Pale yellow

Flavor: This was smooth and ... rich? Or maybe "full" is a better word, but what I mean is that had a much more distinctive taste that some of the green teas I've tried before.

Additional notes: I'm not sure I'm properly slurping the tea as I first taste it ("properly slurping" -- is than an oxymoron?), so I swished it around kind of like you do when rinsing after brushing your teeth. I seem to get a better idea of the flavor that way. Oh, and this is cool: I try not to read Michael Harney's notes until I'm finished tasting, so when I read them after this particular session he described this tea as "silvery tips and spindly stiff leaves twisted like barbed wire." So I was right about that "wiry" thing! Cool!

Next week's tea: Bi Lo Chun


  1. I am really enjoying your tastings and comments. Where did you get your water temp. thing?

  2. cool post and a tea i will look for! with it having a robust flavor, maybe i will be able to forgo the pepperming i usually add to green teas, to give them more flavor. my teas usually include an herb now and it would be nice to enjoy a cuppa green tea for its flavor also! thanks for the post. hugs from leslie

  3. Sounds like a great tea. How do you determine additional steepings? Up until a few years ago I never used the same leaves for more than one cup of tea. Sometimes now I'll do 2 cups but not often. (With a baby I don't have as much free time as I used to).

  4. This does sound good. I'm not too keen on the vegetal scent either, but this might be worth a try. Thanks for the review. I'm off to look at the Harney & Sons site.

  5. Thanks, Belinda! I thought I got the thermometer at Upton Tea, but when I just now checked their website, their thermometer has their logo on it, so I guess that's not where I got mine after all. (But I did learn I want the Upton one: it's got different colors on the dial reflecting the different temperatures needed for various types of tea!)

    And Ginger, since I'm such an amateur at this, I just experiment with these "tea tasting teas" to see if further steepings can be had. I was genuinely shocked at how many I got out of this tea! So my advice would be: give it a whirl, since you have nothing to lose by trying!


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