August 12, 2020
by Marco Namowicz
Opening my stash of Golden Peacock there's something familiar and comfortable placing me at peace. A good Dianhong does that for me while still presenting something unknown, an experience not yet explored. I decided to dive in deeper with Jin Kong Que from Masters Teas by Adagio and learn more!
With Hong Cha production beginning around 1939 in Yunnan, the Chinese people wanted to shift export from Eastern China to the western border of Burma in Yunnan. Led by Feng Shao Qiu and Fan He Jun, they found that the Feng Qing County in Southwest Yunnan provided an ideal environment for tea cultivation and production. Prominent in red soil and rich in nutrients, the land to the southwest also cultivated large leaf varieties. In December of 1939, the Yunnan Tea Trading Corporation was founded. Between 1939-1941, the Shunning Experimental Tea Factory produced over 110 tons of Yunnan Black Tea. The name Golden Peacock can be traced back from the Dai (Thai) people, and the bird is associated with not only happiness and peace, but good fortune!
Feng Qing County is the home of Jin Kong Que and also Xiang Zhu Qing Cha Zu, the oldest tea tree in the world. Regarded as The Mother of Tea Trees, it has spanned over 3,200 years and stretches approximately 35 feet tall. With such a rich tapestry of history, it's no wonder the area produces some of the most well-rounded black teas. This birth of Yunnan black tea not only met the needs of the nation but also pioneered Yunnan Big Leaf tea and the renown stature the region holds in black tea. Let's take a look at how this Golden Peacock is crafted!
STEPS IN CRAFTSMANSHIP
1. Plucking: Expertly plucked as a bud and one leaf
2. Withering: The loss of moisture in the leaf allows the material to be pliable and shape for the next step
3. Rolling: Hand-rolled into beautifully twisted strips, this step shapes the tea as well as brings aromas to the forefront of the leaf's surface
4. Firing: Fired and roasted for an hour at a temp between 12-25 °C enriches the flavor and aromatic attributes as it is laid to rest
5. Drying: The final step before packaging, this allows everything to come together and maintain proper moisture levels before being shipped
With such an open window of harvest and processing for this tea throughout the year, I asked Cynthia Fazekas from Adagio on why they decided to go with this robust May picking:
"This tea can be produced from the end of March to November, and it's often very expensive for an early spring tea. Since the pickings from summer and autumn are not as fresh and tender as spring, we chose the best balance; acquiring the freshest and developed quality for the price."
With those details known it made complete sense, as the balance in flavors combined with the plucking style provided a clean and selective taste that held onto wholesome body and sweetness. Let's take a look at the experience I had through numerous sessions with this tea!
TASTING JIN KONG QUE
Season: May 2020
Cultivar: Da Ye Zhong
Origin: Da Hei Shan, Yunnan, China
Picking/Processing: Bud + 1 leaf, fire and roasted for an hour 12-25 °C
My Brewing Parameters
Leaf to Water Ratio - 4 g for 100 mL
Starting Temp - 90 °C
Infusion time(s) - 20 sec. +5
Eyes Dry: Honey-amber and milk chocolate strips twist and curl
Nose Dry: Caramel, toffee, sweet potato creaminess
Nose Wet: Brown-sugar yams, rose water, slight tarmac heat
Eyes Liquor: Molasses brown and ruby red core with a green-yellow rim
Mouth Texture: Smooth, virtually no astringency, medium-bodied broth
Mouth Taste: Biscuits, toffee scone, and warm dough.
Nose Cup: Caramel chew, toasted hazelnut, and sugars
Mouth Finish: Syrupy and mineral
Eyes Wet: Chocolate and espresso hued tongues of bud and leaf material, slender and reddish-brown
Body Sensation: Warm in the chest and cheerful
RECOMMENDATIONS / CONCLUSION
Using what I felt was a conservative temperature for this tea, this black tea is beautifully consistent throughout 10 + infusions using a gaiwan. I find this Golden Peacock particularly versatile when considering its use during all seasons of the year. Not only does it bring warm and soothing energies perfect for autumn and winter, but this tea also is refreshing iced and mixed with lemon or sparkling water!
If you'd like to try this tea iced, recommend the following parameters:
1. 3 tsp of Golden Peacock per 8 ounces of hot water
2. Steep for 5 minutes with water just off boiling
3. Pour over ice and add lemon, honey, and sparkling water to taste
It's a beautiful tea that works well for any day that comes your way! You'll find more information regarding purchasing options and insight into the farmer that cultivates this tea, Zhao Ji Lin, here on the site.