Tian Jian, or “heavenly tips”, is more of a grade of leaf than a type of Hunan heicha. It is comprised of much younger leaves picked earlier in the year and has very few to no stems. It is commonly loosely compressed into bamboo woven baskets which give it a more unique style in look, taste, and how it ages.
Jinhua, or “Golden Flowers”, is the beneficial mold found in other heicha especially FuZhuan. This mold mainly starts to grow from the stems. Tian Jian, having fewer, takes longer to develop Jinhua but it can still. Jinhua comes and goes, especially in Tian Jian.
More fragrant and generally having more aroma, Tian Jian has a more uplifting taste and feel with higher notes that do not compromise a houyun. Don’t expect the same taste as fuzhuan. Although tian jian is also fermented, it has a more mushroomy or fungal taste. The taste is easily changed with your brewing parameters more so than with many teas. I tend to use fewer leaves and longer steeping time.
As one friend put it, “Tastes like the idea of an English farm in a movie (not an actual farm, those smell like manure)”