“An orange grown in the south of the river is an orange, but grown in the north, it is a tangerine” - from an ancient Chinese poem.
Last week, we discussed one part of MeiMei Fine Tea’s mission, a commitment to the finest single origin teas that we can source. Single origin is an ideal that has influenced the mission of many companies, especially those in the tea and coffee industries. What is less widely considered, however, is the ideal of true origin.
What is true origin and how does it differ from single origin?
In order for a tea to qualify as true origin, it not only needs to be single origin but it also has to be grown and produced in its place of origin. We are committed to this standard because we believe that a large part of what makes a particular tea what it is is its terroir, or the environment in which the tea grew and flourished.
We have discussed terroir in a little more detail elsewhere, but its importance cannot be understated. We believe that a tea’s reputation for greatness was intimately connected to not only what kind of tea it was but also to the place that gave it its birth and unique flavor profile.
Part of the reason for growing and cultivating teas away from their place of origin has to do with pricing. Once a tea has gained a strong reputation for its quality and flavor, it becomes in high demand.
Naturally, when many people want something of limited supply, its prices increase proportionately. This makes it difficult for not only buyers but also tea drinkers, as the tea becomes more expensive for everybody, assuming the tea can even be sourced in the first place. Thus, growing a particular varietal in a new region was a solution to this problem.
Except it wasn’t. While this should have entailed lower prices and wider availability to wonderful varietals, many vendors chose to continue calling the tea by the same name, charging similar and sometimes even higher prices even though the flavor profile was becoming very different from what the traditional flavor of the tea. It is like trying to sell a cubic zirconia as a diamond. While the former can glitter and sparkle, it’s just not the same.
For us, this is unacceptable for multiple reasons. If you want to taste Dragonwell and what made Dragonwell the incredible tea that it is today, then you need to have true origin Dragonwell. While the Dragonwell cultivar can be and is grown elsewhere, there are dramatic differences in the shape and color of the leaf as well as the taste of the tea!
Our commitment to you is that we will always source true origin teas so that you can have the fullest tea experience possible! If you want to experience the beauty and splendor of Dragonwell, then we will make sure it is true origin, authentic West Lake Dragonwell.
We believe you’ll taste the difference!