The morning Sydney-bound cattle train – sorry, express – arriving at Wollongong yesterday 10.35.
Despite it being school holidays AND the last day of the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, the express was four cars, not eight. Luckily I got a seat, but many had to stand the one and a half hours all the way to Sydney. But at least the train was on time. The journey back at 2.23 from Central was rather less crowded.
In Surry Hills I met M at the Shakespeare Hotel for lunch. He has recently returned from Shanghai and travelled by train while there:
Yes, high speed trains that cruise at 300kph. We can but dream.
M brought back some gifts:
Not the tea pot but the tea: Jin Jun Mei:
Jin Jun Mei is one of the most exquisite examples of Chinese black tea which was created in 2005. It is a black tea originally from the Wuyi region of the Chinese province of Fujian. In the July of 2005, Mr. Jiang Yuan Xun, the general manager of Wu Yi Zheng Shan tea company accompany guests from Beijing to Wuyi mountain. During their visit, they found some tender tea buds in Wuyi National Nature Reserve around 1800 meters above sea level. The guests suggested why not make some black tea with these buds? The buds were then sent to Tongmu village where the first black tea, lapsang souchong was created here 300 years ago. The tea master Mr. Liang Jun De conduct the experiment by himself, the process is based upon traditional lapsang souchong with improved fermentation. The tea is finally finished with a brand new black tea Jin Jun Mei.
Jinjunmei black tea is made of tea bud tips which are picked before Tomb-sweeping Day from a rare and primitive species of wild tea which grows on mountains, in the National Natural Conservation Area of Wuyi Mountain, with an altitude of 1500 to 1800 meters. A skilled female worker can only pick about 2000 pieces of tea bud tips per day and needs tens of thousands of pieces of tea bud tips to produce, adopting the traditional hand-made processing technology of bohea lapsang tea, 500 grams of Jinjunmei. Processed Jinjunmei has the following characteristics: tight, slender and gold-yellow-black tea leaf, golden tea soap, mixed aromas of fruit, flower, honey, and potato. It is a top-level treasure that is so rare.
Apparently M’s sister or brother-in-law works for the company from which my Jin Jun Mei comes. Inside the box are individually sealed “doses”. (I’m not sure what “golden tea soap” means, by the way; Chinglish maybe?) M says the tea is worth $2,000 a kilo, or as this site says US$1500 per pound.
Of a similar tea a taster writes:
Wild Thing you make my heart sing. Fujian Jin Jun Mei do I need to say more? I found I prefer this with steeps around one minute. It can get a bit drying with long western steeps. Keep it short and this delivers the goods. Honey, caramel/cocoa, and lighter malt than I normally associate with this tea. Re-steeps well.
And back in The Gong night fell, the end of a rather good day: