So I got my order from Upton, and in it included my much anticipated Jun Shan Yin Zhen Yellow tea. I wasn’t sure where to begin, but visually speaking the leaves were quite pretty as they cascaded into the basin of my brewing vessel. Soft notes of Yellow on perfect looking needles looking at me and saying “Hey, where’s the water? I need some water!” And So I obliged. I brought the water to a warm 175 and poured away.
But how long to wait? If I followed the recommendations on the package, three minutes would suffice. Somewhere deep down I felt this wasn’t right, but not wanting to screw up my first try because I thought I’d tell Upton how to brew, I went with three. And to my inner Justin’s suspicions…the tea was light, too light. Still tasty, but I knew what needed to be done. For the sake of checking it out I brewed the same leaves for 7 minutes this time, and was left with only a slightly, very slightly different taste.
Once I was satisfied that I had played with these leaves long enough, I busted out a second brew. Except this time I treated the Jun Shan Yin Zhen like it was just a regular silver needle (I know, regular silverneedle, as if there was such a thing!), bringing the water to 160 and letting that sucker steep for 15 minutes. And what I got was quite frankly, delicious. This brew had much sweeter qualities, but still retained the gentleness as the earlier, shorter brews. After brewin for 15 minutes I decided that I Couldn’t really get a second cup out of it, but for the sake of trying I brought the water to 185 and steeped for twenty.
What I got was something, but as to whether or not it was worth the time I can’t be sure.
Jun Shan Yin Zhen was no Silverneedle, and if you ever drink the stuff you’ll see why I’ve made so many comparisons. It’s definitely a special occasion tea for a reason, and I can see why it would be best not to drink it every day. It seems like it would be easily over indulged and if something that beautifully complex becomes ordinary, you really can’t understand just how beautiful it is. I’ll probably make another purchase, but keep it tightly sealed in a tin for special evenings or to treat my friends.
Don’t put Jun Shan Yin Zhen at the top of your “to drink” list, but do keep it on there. It’s worth a sip.