Welcome to the MEA Forensic Tea Tasting page, where you will find all the information about the teas we've curated especially for your private tasting session.Rara Willow White
Charcoal Roasted Tie Guan Yin
Here's a map to give you an idea of this tea journey. Locations are approximate and intended to serve as a visual guide only.
Rara Willow White
2nd Flush 2020
Maipokhari, Ilam, Nepal
White tea is becoming the favorite tea type in the last decade as people are falling for its delicate floral sweetness. With minimal processing to manipulate the flavor, the taste depends heavily on the quality of the tea leaves, and this Rara Willow White is definitely living up to its 7,500ft elevation promise.
Notes: Stone Fruit, Floral
3g | 100ml | 80c | 15 secs
2g | 250ml | 75c | 1 min
This Rara Willow White is 2nd flush harvest in 2020, consisted of only one bud and one leaf. With deep respect to nature, tea pickers hand plucked the tea early in the morning and late afternoon to avoid the scotching sun, resulting in a crisp and delicate yet flavorful tea in a cheerful yellow liquor that keeps you coming back for more.
More story of Nepali Tea
In the past, majority of Nepali tea production was mass produced CTC (cut, tear, curl) tea from the lowlands as a low-price commodity. Yet having a comparable climate and growing conditions as Darjeeling in their high elevation regions (Fun fact: Ilam is merely 80km south-west of Darjeeling), many fine quality Nepali whole leaf teas were shipped to Darjeeling and passed as the world renown Champagne of Tea to fulfil market demand.
With the effort of public and private investors, Nepali tea is slowly walking out of the shadow and gaining more recognition on its own. As a late bloomer, Nepal still has a long way to go but it is definitely one that should be under your tea radar.
Charcoal Roasted Tie Guan Yin
Anxi, Fujian, China
Tie Guan Yin, aka Iron Goddess of Mercy or Iron Buddha, a tea that's won hearts with its unique floral quality. While jade / light version of it seems to be trending in recent years, we were really excited when we came across this charcoal roasted Tie Guan Yin that gives off a more traditional vibe.
Notes: Nutty, Fruity
5g | 100ml | 98c | 45 secs
4g | 250ml | 98c | 2 mins 30 secs
This charcoal roasted Tie Guan Yin came from Gande (感德), a town with hilly terrain and high elevation, perfect for tea cultivation. Naturally, it became one of the main regions in Anxi with a long history of Tie Guan Yin production. Apart from the meticulous oolong processing, the tea has also been through multiple rounds of charcoal roasting by hand. This step added a richer layer of flavor and aroma, making it a great tea to enjoy, especially when the temperature drops.
The story of Charcoal Roasted Tie Guan Yin
While many love charcoal roasted Tie Guan Yin for its added complexity and coziness, its invention came as a practical necessity. In the old days, many Fujian people traveled by sea, and tea was one of the stable they brought along. Since partially oxidized oolong couldn’t withstand the humidity at sea, people then discovered that they could combat this problem by charcoal roasting it. Not only can the tea be kept in better condition this way, its flavor also enhanced as a bonus. And the rest is history.
Nowadays, with the changing preferences, not all Tie Guan Yin producers would opt to go through the time and labour intensive charcoal roasting by hand. It also takes people years of practice and experience to master this skill, so it’s incredibly lucky whenever we chance upon a tea produced in this traditional manner.
Feng Qing, Yunnan, China
Another newcomer to the long tea history of Yunnan. Dian Hong’s vibrancy and sweetness has easily captured the crowds, even with people who don’t normally enjoy black tea might change their mind.
Notes: Floral, Sweet
4g | 100ml | 90c | 10-15 sec
2g | 250ml | 90c | 2-3 min
This Dian Hong is hand-picked in the autumn of 2020. As it’s processed by hand, the 1 bud and 1 – 2 leaves structured remained mostly intact beautifully. The dry leaves give off an inviting honey note. The tea is brewed to a golden amber color with very little astringency, making it another great black tea to enjoy straight.
The story of Dian Hong
Unlike many native Yunnan teas that are deep rooted with the ethnic minorities, Dian Hong is a tea initiated by the Han (漢) people.
During the first Sino-Japan war, tea production in traditional black tea regions in East China were put to a halt. To maintain the export revenue, China Tea Trade Company sent tea experts Mr Feng Shaoqiu (馮紹裘) and Mr Zheng Hechun鄭鶴春 to Yunnan in search of possible black tea plantation in 1938. They have quickly identified the Da Ye tea plants in Feng Qing 鳳慶to be most suitable. Dian Hong was successfully “invented” and produced, then promptly shipped to the UK via Hong Kong the next year. During Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Yunnan in 1986, Dian Hong was presented to her as a welcome gift. In 2014, Dian Hong production was chosen by the Chinese Government as one of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage of China.
Many of the famous Chinese black teas, such as Keemun, and Zhen Shan Xiao Zhong are produced with the smaller leaf varietal, Dian Hong’s native big leaf varietal has certainly broadened the Chinese black tea spectrum. The sweet dry leaves often contained some lovely golden tips. And it does not disappoint when brewed - a golden orange velvety and sweet liquor that's pleasing both to the eyes and the palate.
Interested for more tea exploration? Check out our Tea Exploration Kit - a tea kit curated with a collection of 5 single origin loose leaf teas, along with their provenance, back stories and brewing guide. Special virtual tea tasting sessions are made available exclusively for our customers with the kits, to deep dive into the world of tea.
Stay tuned as our Vol 5 tea kit will be coming out in a month time. Meanwhile, have a look at the past volumes to see the kind of tea journey we've been on.
If you have any questions, get in touch. We love to talk all things tea.
Teakan was created with the intention to (re)discovering the world of fine tea. By curating a small collection of quality single origins tea in a compact format, you can have fun enjoying a variety of tea from different regions, one batch at a time.