Jin Mudan (Golden Peony)

Rock Wulong Tea 2022

Jin Mudan’s bright amber liquor has pronounced and layered flavors with a honey-like sweetness. Its roasting accentuates fragrant notes of blooming orchids, stewed white peaches, and cacao nibs.

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Tea Origin
Wuyishan City, Fujian Province, China

Tea Bush
Jin Mudan (Golden Peony)

Tea Maker
Zhou Yousheng and Huang Shiying

Harvest Time
Early May

Plucking Standard
Zhong kai mian

Jin Mudan (Golden Peony), named after its namesake hybrid cultivar, was developed through the crossbreeding of the Tieguanyin and Huang Dan wulong tea bushes. It is best known for its rich orchid-like fragrance. This cultivar has been gaining popularity since its introduction over four decades ago and today is used to make excellent high-end rock wulongs like this.

Harvesting and processing rock wulong in Wuyishan

The wulong tea picking season begins around April 20th every year. There are so many different varieties of tea bush grown in Wuyi Mountain to make rock wulong tea, and each one has a different harvest time, and can only be picked for about 3-5 days per year. For Wuyishan wulong, only the top three or four leaves of the new growth are plucked after all the tea buds have completely opened into tea leaves. The traditional time to harvest wulong tea is when the last new leaf is ⅔ the size of the second leaf, a stage of growth called zhong kai mian.

After the harvest, tea makers use large buckets to carry the leaves back to the factory to wither in the sun spread on top of fabric or bamboo trays for a couple of hours. The leaves will then be moved inside and spread about an inch thick on large round bamboo trays and placed on wooden shelves or racks. Over a period of 8-12 hours while the tea withers, the tea maker will shake the trays every hour or two to agitate and very gently bruise the tea leaves without breaking them. This agitation breaks some of the cell walls within the leaf, encouraging their natural oxidation and the flavor development that accompanies it. The leaves will then be fired in a hot rolling oven for about 8 minutes to stop the oxidation. A kneading machine is then used to compress the leaves into their long twisted shape. Once fully shaped, the leaves are quickly dried for about 40 minutes in a 110°C oven. The stems and untwisted leaves will then be sorted out by hand.

Finally, when the tea is nearly finished, the leaves are roasted above bamboo charcoal for about four hours for flavor development and stability. The tea is given a 20-30 days break before a second shorter roasting for two or three hours. During this process, the tea maker adjusts the charcoal pot’s temperature by packing fine ashes over the hot coals. This smokeless heat is used so as not to contaminate to the tea with burnt flavors, thus allowing you to enjoy the pure aroma that the leaves have to offer.

No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.

Jin Mudan (Golden Peony) 2022 brewing guidelines

5 grams (2 Tb) tea

12 oz 100°C (212ºF) water

3 min. first infusion

At least 4 infusions: 3, 3, 5, 8 minutes