Monday, December 18, 2017

Jinxuan Oolong

In 1981, Dr. Wu Zhen Duo (1918-2000) created the Jinxuan cultivar, also known officially as Taiwan Tea Experiment Station (TTES) No 12 or, inofficially, as experimental number 2027. He gave it the name Jinxuan to remember the first name of his grandmother. (He did the same to TTES No 13, Tsui Yu, named after his mother!)

This tea cultivar is proving particularly popular in Taiwan right now. We can find it in Songboling where it is replacing SiJiChun as a more elegant fresh, low altitude Oolong alternative. It is also very suitable for organic farming, which is why I was able to find an insect bitten zhuo yan version this spring there.
It is also used in northern Taiwan to make fresh Wenshan Baozhong and even Oriental Beauty in summer!
And this winter I even selected this very good Hung Shui Oolong from Feng Huang (Dong Ding) made from Jinxuan leaves. (You'll even find green and red teas made from Jinxuan!)
Thanks to its big leaves, Jinxuan looks very much like a high mountain Oolong. And, indeed, it's also possible to find Jinxuan plantations above 1000 meters of elevation in Alishan, for instance. Th
But the Jinxuan I'm drinking here is my 2016 spring top Jinxuan Oolong from Dong Ding. Preserved in its vacuum sealed foil for almost 2 years, this tea still tastes and smells completely fresh. The scents are subtle with hints of Japanese sencha, very light seaweed and meadows. Sometimes you get a milky note, too, but it's very light. (If this aroma is strong, it is likely due to added artificial flavors ; that's Jinxuan's weakness: since it's scents are rather light, many producers use it to add their own flavors).
The taste of Jinxuan is also milder than that of qingxin Oolong, which makes it suitable for a brew in my silver teapot, because it's not so likely to become overpowering. It shines its purity with a sense of grace and restraint that few cultivars have at this price level.
This makes Jinxuan a wonderful cultivar to start exploring the world of Taiwan Oolong teas in all their complexity.
Let the sunshine of Jinxuan Oolong brighten your December days. Cheers!
Addendum: This top Jinxuan Oolong from 2016 has sold out today. (Thank you!) If you're looking for something similar, I recommend the spring 2017 top Jinxuan Oolong from Alishan.

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