"Reminiscent of nectar from heaven with a rich finish and a lingering, sweet aftertaste." A famous tea buyer's comment after cupping.
One of China's finest green teas, Mei Lan Chun is crafted with skills that are becoming increasingly rare in the tea world. The cultivar, Mei Zhan, offers highly aromatic leaves and a taste that is complex - rich in flavors of melon and hints of anise. Grown in Fujian Province, this year's "Spring Bud" was plucked in the first week of April. It is made primarily of buds with an occasional first leaf, thus the definition of "fine pluck". It's growth is nurtured by the clouds and mist that shroud the mountains (an environment referred to as "yun-wu" - a perfect place to grow tea). This combination of elevation, soil, clouds and spring rain, warming temperatures and mists followed by cooling air as night falls serves to produce this compact and very aromatic leaf. The processing of the raw leaf requires skill and patience as its production requires a deft touch to maintain and bring out the rare flavors the leaves offer. This lot was harvested in 2018.
As with any specialty, single-origin, handmade tea, each year the offerings change, bringing new twists to the flavor and the palate. The 2018 version of this tea is a bit stronger in flavor than prior years perhaps reflecting the spring weather which warmed very quickly. Dense, the buds are deep green, curved with touches of white. The leaf aroma is vegetal and clean with a hint of anise. The liquor is bright and clear. The naturally sweet notes of the leaf to come through. Cupping the lot, we found it had depth, plenty of vegetal and sweet notes and the lingering clean aftertaste we have come to appreciate. We noted the taste of this tea remained in our mouths well after we had tasted it. We tasted a number of lots from this season and found this our favored one. Lot #8.
The liquor is bright and clear, while the cup boasts flavors of anise, cinnamon, and other warm spices. Balanced with a perfect sweetness, the flavor is uplifting, full and balanced, leaving a wonderful lingering finish on the palate. Note, the leaves produce a high concentration of chlorophyll and nutrients which result in its rich flavor.
This tea is strong, use 3 grams for 8-12 ounces of water at a temperature of 175-195 degrees F. This tea offers a very pleasing, round taste at these temperatures. Steeped at higher temperatures, the leaves will release more flavor quickly and provide a deeper cup taste but subtle flavors will be lost. At 1.5 minutes, there is a wonderful blend of flavors and notes. At 2 minutes, the cup is admittedly fuller and denser in flavor yet still clean. Longer steep times will "crowd" the notes, some of the tea's more subtle notes are lost. Drain all water from the leaves after steeping and you will assuredly have multiple steeps.