This was one of the two teas that made up my first order with Farmer Leaf.
The raw material is described as “…leaves from the top of Jingmai Mountain…“, that were “…picked from early-March to early-April 2019…“, and subsequently “…hand-processed in our tea factory…“.
Farmer Leaf’s notes go on to say the following about the tea…
“We’ve been producing the Jingmai Miyun since 2016. This is a blend from several high-altitude natural tea gardens located West of Da Ping Zhang plateau near our village.
The tea gardens were established about 40 years ago. They started out as intensive plantations and were converted into natural tea gardens around 2010. This conversion implied stopping the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, reducing the plantation density, planting shade trees and letting the tea trees grow in size.
While such teas are typically cooked in a machine, we prefer to use a wok and do the job by hand. This offers more control and a richer tasting profile but takes much longer to make.
You will find in this tea a typical Jingmai profile with honey fragrance, some bitterness, a medium body and a pleasant aftertaste. This tea is quite astringent, a common characteristic of the Jingmai terroir.
Due to the low yield we had in Spring 2019, we only managed to make 80kg of this tea.”
The beeng’s floral aroma was clearly discernible even through the two layers of wrapping paper. Other than that, the dry leaf gave off a fairly standard sheng profile, plus hot granite after a rain shower.
|Water Used:||Filtered tap water|
|Weight of dry leaf:||7 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||150 ml unglazed clay teapot|
|No. & duration:||A flash rinse, then infusions of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 60, 80, 100, 120, 180, and 300 seconds for a total of 15 infusions|
Post rinse the hot, wet leaves came over all rain forest with a touch of smoke.
That first, quick infusion reminded me of old favourite 2012 De Hong Ye Sheng from Canton Tea Co., except here the bitterness gently and playfully tweaked your nose end rather than slapping you good and hard in the chops. There was also a beautiful, ripe plum aftertaste.
The second round saw the plum thing morph into something more akin to Medjool dates. The body was already a lip-sticker, and the Qi arrived like an express elevator in a skyscraper, whisking me from the ground floor lobby to the 50th storey observation platform in what seemed like a few seconds. Every deep intake of breath spread the scent of sweet flowers all the way up into the top of my nose and deep into the back of my throat.
By the third steeping I was thinking of the Seahorses hit “Love Is The Law“…
“…now we know where we’re going baby we can lay back and enjoy the ride, take in the sights and drown in our senses…”
…and that is pretty much the way the rest of the session panned out – round after round and cup after cup of delicious brain tonic. All my worldly concerns seemed to exist in a distant, out of focus place, like the shimmering and blurred approximations of boats far out to sea, partially lost in the heat haze.
As always the soup eventually ran out of steam, and the conductor told us that we had reached the terminus, and it was time for everyone to hop off the magic bus. Despite the 15 round long session I still had the gut feeling that with a bit of tweaking I might in future be able to tease a couple more steepings out of the leaves.
This tea together with the Autumn 2018 Jingmai Gushu I sampled earlier this month is starting to turn me into a real Farmer Leaf fanboy.
Further purchases extremely likely. Watch this space, etc…
It is hard not to be a fan, they have great tea!
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They certainly do!
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Nice review, I’m glad you like their tea.
Re. their Miyun I bought two cakes of their first run in 2016, freshly pressed and still pretty green and they aged like nothing else in my storage, I posted some of my impressions on teachat (RIP) back then.
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I’d heard so many good things about Farmer Leaf I was a bit apprehensive about being let down or even disappointed, but all in all I reckon they’re the best shengs I’ve managed to get hold of by a long chalk. Hopefully, tea budget permitting, I’ll be buying a lot more from them in the years ahead.
Nice to know that if I can be patient with the Miyun it might mature into something a bit special…
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To be honest, the rather mercurial nature of the 2016 version sort of forced me to sample it every couple weeks with a tea buddy and we’ve been pretty surprised with the changes in such a short time. The rest of this cake went into storage and later on I sold the other cake to a friend who liked it more than me. I’ve always been more of a DXS/Menghai afficionado but if Jingmai is your thing I guess you can’t go wrong with William’s offerings, especially the outstanding Gulan.