I will never forget the first time that I tasted the REAL Jin Jun Mei. Of course I had been exposed to this tea before and enjoyed many of these Golden Tippy samples from Fujian but I never purchased any because the price did not match up to the experience. I chalked Jin Jun Mei up to a bit of a fad tea - all looks and name but not as good as its reputation.
Then on one sourcing stay in Wuyi I was tasting some Da Hong Pao with a farmer and he asked if we wanted to try his Jin Jun Mei. Well it would be very impolite to say no :)
When he opened the small tin and I saw those buds I realised that this was completely different to any other Jin Jun Mei and the aroma was sublime - chocolate, rose and longan.
The farmer explained that the true Jin Jun Mei should be small, mostly dark and oily, hand rolled buds. He showed us his lower grade Jin Jun Mei which looked exactly like the ones I had tasted over the years and admitted that this was not the real deal.
When I tasted the first sip of his tea I knew that I had to purchase some for my clients and my personal collection. So I set about negotiating a price for 100g of tea. The prices were so much higher than any other 'Jin Jun Mei' out there but I had to have some. Eventually we agreed on a friendly price and I handed over the money.
The moment I had been given the precious tin of tea the farmer's wife walked in and saw the transaction taking place. She asked in Chinese how much I paid for it and when she found it she was not happy at all. The farmers wife was shouting that we could get three times that amount and the husband was trying to calm her. It was quite an awkward situation as they argued over the tin of tea in my hands.
We brought the Jin Jun Mei back to the UK and within a couple of weeks we had sold most of it to collectors and I kept 30g for myself to share with my family including my late father which is why I get a bit emotional in this video.
This was over four years ago and since then we have been searching for equally good Jin Jun Mei. The farmer's batches were not the same quality (this tea is very much affected by the weather that year) and so we did not purchase any tea until we were sent this Jin Jun Mei!