Updated: Oct 19, 2018
Wu-Yi black tea is the original black tea. In modern days, there are three major categories of Wu-Yi Black Tea: Jin Jun Mei (Golden Eyebrow, Chinese: 金骏眉), Yin Jun Mei (Silver Eyebrow, Chinese: 银骏眉) and Tong Jun Mei (Bronze Eyebrow, Chinese: 铜骏眉). Today, let’s discuss the difference among them.
All three categories of Wu-Yi black tea have similar harvest time and location. Origins from Tong-Mu, Wu-Yi black tea trees grow on mountains where the average height is about 5000’ to 6000’. Wu-Yi black tea maintains its reputation and quality by making only one harvest season per year. The easiest way to differentiate these three categories is to look at the leaves.
Jin Jun Mei, or Golden Eyebrow, is the most celebrated black tea. Its harvest is highly selective. It exclusively uses newly sprouted buds that can only be picked by hand. Top quality Jin Jun Mei has a very strict and short period of daily harvesting time. It can only be gathered in the early morning before the sunrise when there is still a thin layer of fog above the ground. Our best tea worker can gather only a few hundreds of tea buds per day. To make a pound of Jin Jun Mei, we need at least tens of thousands of buds. Because its high quality and limited production, Jin Jun Mei is the most sought-after black tea on the market. (Learn more about our Jin Jun Mei: Scent of Longan)
Yin Jun Mei, or Silver Eyebrow, is usually made of leaves with one bud and one leaf. Making Yin Jun Mei also requires highly skilled hand picking and hand selecting. Although Yin Jun Mei has a higher production, it is still limited because producing a pound of Yin Jun Mei needs about fifty thousand high quality fresh leaves.
Tong Jun Mei, or Bronze Eyebrow, more commonly known as Chi-Gan, has two variants: Little Chi-Gan and Big Chi-Gan. Both Chi-Gan have one bud and two leaves. What differentiates the two is that Little Chi-Gan has unextended leaves while Big Chi-Gan has extended leaves.
All three categories of Wu-Yi black teas have excellent quality. Since it is a matter of personal preference, we highly recommend our customers to try all three kinds of black tea or come to our tasting events. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @valleybrooktea and stay updated with our newest events!
Finally, did you know our black tea master Mr. Fu’s family actually pioneered Wu-Yi black tea? Head to this page and learn more about our tea masters.