Jin Dayi and the Golden Ticket
Apache introduced me to the new darling of the Hong Kong internet forums, the 2011 Jin Dayi, with a sample packet (signed with beautiful penmanship, as shown above). The first time I had checked the price of this tea was several months ago, when it was hovering around 215 RMB. By the time I drank the tea, it was nearer to 300 RMB. As of the writing of this article, it is above 300 RMB – or 380 RMB at the flagship store. Some pretty active climbing for a newish tea from a big factory.
This runaway freight train price increase is due in no small part to the accolades doled out by Cloud, Hong Kong tea aficionado. The Hong Kong tea forums have been bustling with praise over the last year, with prices rising commensurately.
To be perfectly honest, most Dayi raw puer after the early 2000’s has been a bit of a drag. There are bright spots here and there, but in general, nothing to rave about. After seeing the enthusiasm over this tea, I had to try a bit and jump on the bandwagon.
The first cup is a bell tolling. A loud declaration of presence. There is kuwei [pleasant bitterness] and a syrupy coating in the throat from the outset. There are bones and guts and body. These are high compliments, as most Dayi sheng from recent years is a bit lacking in the skeletal department.
The gold dayi also has fortitude. Deep into the session, there is still a strength of kuwei and full body that is not present in most of the recent Dayi teas I have tried. It is clear why Cloud and the HK tea forum crowd are backers of this tea.
The Jin Dayi is typical in its menghai character, but it is done better than any I have had in previous years. As for what I mean by menghai character, Hobbes described it as
dark-mushroom with malt, and plenty of hardcore bitterness.
This is in the ballpark of how I would describe Jin Dayi, if I could swap out mushroom for raw tobacco. The darkness, malt, and hardcore kuwei are all there in force. Altogether these components combine for a very intense and pleasurable session.
One last note, the 2011 Jin Dayi blend has a fairly wide range in leaf size. Some buds, some larger broad leafs. Ages of the material also ranges, but in general seem to be a few years old. It drinks more smoothly than several other 2011 Dayi blends I have sampled. Some details on the leaves in pics above and below.
If you plan on purchasing this tea, probably better to do it sooner than later. The price will probably climb into farcical territory soon, if it is not there already.