I first heard of Mei Mei Fine Teas through Instagram, where I post a lot of tea photos. (What a surprise!) When I found out about them, I got in touch to see whether I could review their teas. Originally they didn’t plan on shipping tea to Canada, but when their shipping options changed, they did indeed send me a free set of samples to review.
I liked the look of their offerings right away. Their packaging is so vibrant!
Meng Ding Sweet Dew Green Tea
Meng Ding mountain is the birth place of tea cultivation about 1200 years ago in China. Gan Lu was one of the oldest teas in China, and a tribute tea in the Tang dynasty. This is the highest grade Gan Lu consisting of nearly all buds with a very small percentage of one bud with one young leaf. A very fine exotic tea that delivers a sweet, mellow, and refreshing cup.
The dry leaf of this was fine, sage green, densely packed, and covered in white fuzz. The smell was incredibly unusual for a green tea — it smelled sweet and herbal, like lemon verbena or Macedonian/Greek mountain tea.
In fact, the smell was so different that I busted out my flavour wheel to see what I could identify. (That flavor wheel is fancy, but I don’t refer to it often. I really should, though.) Anyways, looking at the wheel, I’d say that the scent was a mix of sage, honey, and dill — really distinctive.
As per the instructions on the website I took a whopping 1 tablespoon of dry leaf and steeped it in 12 oz of 80°C water for one minute. The resulting tea was a pale yellow colour that darkened as it cooled.
The scent was very different from the taste. That herbal element was still there, but while I was expecting something sweet and honeylike, it ended up tasting vegetal (asparagus and alfalfa, I think), with a weird chemical overtone I couldn’t identify. I gave it a second steep at 1.5 minutes and got a tea that tasted sweeter, but still somewhat vegetal and chemical-like. On the second steep, I could see the fine white fuzz from the leaf floating around in the liquid. The second time around, I also noticed a somewhat pleasant, grassy aftertaste.
Meng Ding Yellow Buds
This is the highest grade yellow tea, consisting solely of buds. Once a tribute tea, it is very elegant and sensational, even uncommon to be found in China nowadays. This is the first pluck of the season, has pleasant fragrance, complex flavor and slight sweetness. Yellow tea still contains the same level of theanine as green tea, but with a sweeter and more mellow taste, and doesn’t get bitterness.
I’ve never had a yellow tea before; my understanding is that yellow teas are even less well-known among western tea drinkers than pu’erh is. My Google-fu tells me that yellow tea is processed in a manner similar to green teas, but with a slightly longer oxidation phase.
The dry leaf of the Meng Ding Yellow Buds look like a mix between long yellow grains of rice and leaves from dragonwell (Long Jing) teas — oblong, a bit flat, with a yellow-green cast to them. They smell grainy, a bit vegetal, and a bit sweet. The smell is much milder than the Sweet Dew green tea above.
I took half of the sample packet (between 3 and 4 grams) and brewed the leaf twice in 85°C water. The first steep was for 1.5 minutes and the second for 2 minutes. The resulting brew both times was a pale yellow colour that reminded me of cornsilk.
The taste during both steeps was consistent — very vegetal and green-beany. Luckily, there was none of that weird “chemical” flavour I noticed with the Sweet Dew green tea, but this wasn’t as bold/forward in the flavour department as the previous tea, either. Mild, not very assuming, and frankly, not very different from many green teas I’ve tried.
One of the most famous Jasmine teas from Sichuan, China, this tea has an incredible intense floral aroma complemented by a full-bodied green tea smoothness that lingers in your mouth and nose. A “wow” tea you don’t want to miss.
As soon as I opened the packet of this tea, I knew I was in for a treat: there were beautiful green, fluffy strands of dry leaf mixed in with whole dried jasmine flowers. One rule of thumb for jasmine teas is that the higher-quality stuff uses real flowers rather than jasmine essential oil, so it was really good to see that here. The smell was also lovely: fresh and floral, with a hint of sweetness.
Mei Mei’s instructions for steeping this seemed a bit more in line with the typical “western-style” brewing parameters I use: 1/2 to 1 tbsp of leaf in 6-8 ounces of water at 170-180°F water for 1-2 minutes. I ended up going with 1/2 tbsp of leaf in 8 ounces (1 cup) at 80°C. I brewed the leaves twice: once for 1.5 minutes, and then for 2 minutes.
The resulting tea was a very pale yellow that darkened as it cooled. And yes, the jasmine was really pleasant. There was a sense of sweetness and a long, lingering aftertaste. It felt more “real” than the last jasmine tea I reviewed here. Plus, it stays consistent across steeps: the jasmine flavour is just as strong (without being cloying) on the second steep as on the first.
Organic Sichuan Premium Green Tea
This premium green tea is produced in Gao Xian county, Sichuan province, China. Gao Xian is not just well known for its Sichuan Gongfu Black tea, but also for its high quality green teas. This area borders Yunnan province, is very scenic, mountainous, and with it’s altitude of more than 1000 meters, it enjoys plentiful amounts of fresh clean air.
This is the time of year when things get cold and you want to snuggle up with some hearty, spicy black teas. Green teas are really ideal for spring and summer, when you want something light that rolls down the throat. This tea, though, with its thick body and intriguing scent, is one I could see being a go-to tea for autumn.
The dry leaf of this green tea from Sichuan (a new area for my palate) is dark green bordering on brown/black, dense, and tightly curled, with a dry, sharp look to it. So far, somewhat predictable. But the smell is unlike any other tea I’ve tried. There are the usual vegetal smells of green bean, as well as a deep, dark whiff of honey, but there’s a sharpness to this tea that reminds me of mustard of all things.
Yes: nice and grainy honey mustard. That’s what this tea reminds me of. With maybe a hint of something like dill.
I took 4 grams of this and steeped it in 85°C water for 1 minute. The resulting tea is a dark yellow bordering on a greenish-gold reminiscent of olive oil. The second steep, for 2 minutes, was a bit more golden.
The first steep is sweet, with an undertone of herbs and honey, and an aftertaste somewhat like the “chemical” note of the Sweet Dew tea above, but softer. The second steep is even sweeter, and there’s something fresh and green in the aftertaste that reminds me vaguely of fruit — something fresh and green, but not really tart. Overall, this tea just coats the tongue with softness.
Of the four teas from Mei Mei Fine Teas that I tried, my favourites were the Jasmine Snowflake and the Sichuan green tea. Luckily, the Sichuan tea is one of the cheaper ones that Mei Mei offers, so it’s a good starter tea for those looking to experiment. The Sweet Dew tea was interesting, but not that pleasant because of that weird aftertaste. The yellow tea was kinda meh, I have to admit.