The spring is near around the corner, my annual tea sourcing trip is coming up. This year the weather has been warmer so the harvest season is coming earlier. I am always excited to go to China's beautiful tea mountains to source the best teas that we can find. At MeiMei Fine Teas, we have high standards for our teas and teaware. We want our customers to not only experience what the world of Chinese tea has to offer, but to experience what the best of that world has to offer.
Why we want to source tea directly from single origin?
Aside from taste and appearance of tea leaves, I visit the tea mountains directly so I can get a first-hand look at how those teas are harvested and processed. We absolutely refuse to deal with any farmers whom I believe do not practice ecological and organic farming methods for harvesting their teas. I also make sure that tea masters are processing their teas responsibly and with great care. I would never source a tea that we ourselves would not enjoy on a daily basis.
Of the many things we look for in our teas, one requirement in particular is that our teas be “single origin.” Some teas on the market are “blends,” not to be confused with flavored teas that blend additional ingredients in with some tea leaves.
In this context, a “blend” is a tea produced from several different cultivars from different regions. While a blend can, on some occasion, make for an interesting tea, more often than not they are sold to maximize profits at the cost of lowering quality. A similar problem occurs in the world of olive oil, where some olive oils are mixed with cheaper canola oil. Companies who manufacture these blends prey on the ignorance of consumers who have never had the luxury of experiencing fresh, high-quality olive oil.
To continue with the metaphor, if you think of high-demand, expensive harvests of tea like the fresh, high-quality olive oil, then a tea blend seeks to dilute that flavor with one or more lower-quality teas. The end result is that the tea blend is priced just slightly below the high-quality, pure tea, but you end up getting far less quality tea and end up with an inferior brew.
One of the most important factors in affecting the flavor of a tea is its “terroir,” or environment in which it grows. A tea blend will never let you experience everything the terroir contributes to the flavor of a tea, and for us, that’s disappointing. Every terroir is so unique, and by extension, the teas that are produced from them. We believe that the joy of tasting what nature, tradition, and expertise has to offer is beyond comparison to any blend.
Finally, single origin teas enable us to better track how our teas are produced and from where they come. We want to promote environmental sustainability, and in order to do so in the world of tea, we need to make sure the farmers we build relationships with are playing their parts as well. We frown upon any use of pesticides in producing our teas and we will not tolerate any unethical and irresponsible practices.
These are just some of the reasons why I chooses to source the teas directly. MeiMei Fine Teas makes “single origin” a top priority for sourcing because we know first-hand how amazing a high-quality, rare, top grade tea can taste and why they’re so sought after.
Our mission is to bring those authentic, single origin teas to you so that you have an opportunity to enjoy them too.