A lot of people know about Lapsang Souchong, as it is one of the first Chinese Teas that was exported to Europe since the 1600s. However, few people are aware of Jin Jun Mei tea, as one of the most prestigious and expensive Chinese Teas, and also a kind of Lapsang Souchong. Jin Jun Mei is also one of the most expensive black teas in the world, with shops selling the higher grade for prices up to $1600 for 100g.
Jin Jun Mei (金骏眉 in simplified Chinese; 金駿眉 in traditional Chinese ) literally means the “golden eyebrows” or “elegant golden eyebrows”. It is originated from Tongmu Village in the region of Wuyi Mountain, where also the famous Lapsang Souchong is created 400 years ago. Jin Jun Mei tea is often considered the luxurious version of lapsang souchong with a more pronounced honey flavour and picked more than 1500 meters above sea level.
Jin Jun Mei has soared in both popularity and cost since it was created by the team lead by Mr Jiang Yuanxun, the director of Wu Yi Zheng Shan tea company in 2005. When Mr Jiang was accompanying some guests from Beijing on a visit to the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, some wild tea bushes were discovered growing at over 1800 metres altitude in the Wuyi Nature Reserve. The guest suggested making some more premium black tea from the newly formed tea buds.
The well-known tea master, Mr Liang Junde took the task by making the new tea himself, carefully applying a process similar to the traditional way of making Lapsang Souchong, but removing the distinctive smoking process. As a result, the tea is to be able to develop a personality with aromas of fruit, flower, honey, malt, caramel and a wisp of pine smoke.
A big part of the reason for the high price of Jin Jun Mei is that it takes over twenty skilled farmers one whole day to collect enough shoots for just a few hundred grams of tea. The tea masters would then work on another labour-intensive part in the manufacturing process. The quality of the tea is also so good that even after adding water to the teapot more than twelve times, the taste of the tea can still maintain the same level as when it was at the very beginning.