MeiMei Fine Teas

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

At first, I wasn’t sure about this tea. The tea leaves are all tightly hand-rolled into small balls, but they took longer than I expected to unfurl in the water. I therefore ended up drinking it grandpa style rather than the Western style brew I had initially started in my teapot.

Once the leaves did unfurl, the leaves were smaller than I expected as well, and looked much more fragile than the firm leaves I’ve found in other hand-rolled oolongs. Closer inspection, though, revealed no stems—my steeping was entirely full leaves (slightly torn around the edges but not broken). That was nice to discover!

The liquor itself has a sweet flavor to it—both floral and nutty at the same time. The floral flavor is stronger than the nutty flavor, but they both are there. It is nuttier than the Tung Ting oolong I drank last week but that adds something extra to this tea. I could see this being a tea that would last through repeated steepings (although I can’t attempt that today).

Overall, I am deeply satisfied with this tea, as the quality shows in both flavor and in appearance. I look forward to coming back to this tea again throughout this spring and summer.

NOTE: The vendor website notes that this shipment was harvested in October, 2017

Flavors: Floral, Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

This is a fairly nice tasting semi aged sheng. It had not developed the notes of leather and tobacco although there was a very, very faint trace of that. It had what I would have to call a sweet note but I am not sure how to characterize it. Not sweet in the sense of sugar mind you. Overall I liked this tea more than a lot of other ten year old sheng I have tried.

I steeped this tea ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 9.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 minute. I could have gotten a few more steeps out of this but ten steeps was enough for me.

Preparation
Boiling 9 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
S.G. Sanders

I’ll have to look this one up. Bulang is a tea that is often sought out by myself. There are many instances where I’ve found Bulang to be on the top of my list. And this one seems complex, which i like in a tea, too.

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65

This tea started off with a very herbal and grassy taste. Couldn’t pin it down to a particular herb and it was not all together positive. This lasted well into the sixth steep. After that it was a little bit better. It did not develop a taste of apricots or that sort of thing. I guess I could say it got sweeter. But overall this tea was not as good as the Bing Dao I reviewed from Meimei Fine Teas the other day.

I brewed this ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 9.7g leaf and 190degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.

Flavors: Grass, Herbaceous

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 9 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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93

This is an excellent tea from Meimei Fine Teas. It was very sweet from the first steep with little bitterness and just a bit of astringency. There was a bit of a sour not probably indicating dry storage but it wasn’t strong and didn’t last more than two steeps. Overall I think this an excellent young raw to drink now. I have no idea how it will age. As it is a Bing Dao tea it was somewhat expensive but I decided to take a chance on it. I think you could use the words apricot and stonefruit to describe the sweet notes. This is the sort of raw I really like. I have no idea how it will age.

I brewed this tea ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8.7g leaf and 190 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 minute.

Flavors: Apricot, Stonefruits, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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94

Trying this one again to see if I like it as much as before. This time I used a little more leaf. There was virtually no fermentation taste to this tea and no bitterness. There was a sweet note from the start. This is not a tea that is in need of further aging as so many of the shou puerh in my collection. I gave it twelve steeps in what was supposed to be an 80ml gaiwan but I measured it and it was a 100ml gaiwan. It seems dragon tea house underestimates the capacity of their gaiwans.

I steeped this twelve times in an 100ml gaiwan with 8.7g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. There were maybe two to four steeps left in the leaves.

Preparation
Boiling 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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94

This is an excellent but pricy tea from Meimei Fine Teas. I wouldn’t have bought this at the tea festival the other day but the woman sampled it for me and I thought it fantastic. There is no mustiness, no fermentation taste at all. I underleafed the leaf a bit because I think that is how she brewed it at the tea festival. It was very good with little bitterness and a nice sweet note from the beginning until the end.

After the way I was treated at the tea festival this will be my last time attending. The owner of the festival doesn’t hire professional security but big street toughs. When I was done with my purchases I went in to use the bathroom. I was in the bathroom five minutes when security came banging on the door demanding I get out. I told them to go away but they persisted and continued threatening me. A couple of minutes later I got out and these thugs had called the owner of the fair over. I asked him if it was his policy to harass people for using the bathroom and he said yes. At this point I called him an asshole. Despite the fact that he could see I had made hundreds of dollars in purchases he proceded to throw me out of the convention. And his thugs followed me around until I left. I will be posting later asking for people on Steepster to Boycott this convention until I receive a public apology from the owner of the convention.

I brewed this tea ten times in a 160ml silver teapot with 10.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 minute.

Flavors: Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 10 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
BigDaddy

Which convention was this?

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For any of my readers who are affected by or going to be affected by Hurricane Matthew, stay safe! This particular Hurricane looms heavily in my mind for two reasons, the first and most important is I have family in its path living in Charleston, luckily they are smart and evacuated to the rest of my family in PA, but before I knew they were evacuating I was obviously worried. The other reason is it reminds me of one of the more impactful events of my early life, Hurricane Hugo. I was living in Columbia, SC at the time when that beast slammed full on into the Carolinas, at the time it was the most costly hurricane to hit the US (long since been removed from the top ten) but still ranks #2 on the Hurricane Severity Index. I could tell many stories of the night Hugo hit, they are some of my most vivid early memories, but the real impact this storm (and the tornado I experienced about a month later) had was instilling a phobia of storms that lasted for YEARS. I was almost an adult before I finally broke that phobia, all those (and still) I spent studying Meteorology and eventually the phobia turned to fear, then respect, then outright love.

Today I am looking at a tea that I have not had in literal years, Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea, specifically one from MeiMei Fine Teas. My first time having this tea all those years ago sadly did not wow me, I thought that it was tasty but kinda boring, that I was paying the steep price for the visual appeal rather than taste (like with blooming teas) and figured I should indulge in other green teas. When MeiMei Fine Teas sent me a sample of their Tai Ping Hou Kui I was excited to give this style another chance, especially since their teas have all impressed me in the past. First off, these leaves are impressive, massively long emerald to peridot (when a rockhound tries to describe colors) green leaves with a delicate patterning of the pressing. The other TPHK (as I am not abbreviating this tea) I had was machine processed, this one is handmade, and I can tell, where the previous leaves were paler green and almost translucent, these are thicker and much more solid.

The aroma of the leaves is pretty great, light notes of green beans and asparagus, nutty sweet chestnuts and sesame with a touch of peanuts, and sweet green peas and cooked rutabaga. Like a ghost as my nose heats up the leaves, a sweet floral note arises from the leaves, it starts as peony and finishes as delicate orchids and is quite evocative of spring. I really love green teas that are vegetal and also have strong nutty tones, but delicate floral accompaniment is an extra layer of depth.

Originally I was going to brew this in my tall porcelain gaiwan I bought specifically for green tea, but I realized it would not do these leaves justice, so I went with the traditional method of brewing in a tall clear glass and pouring into a smaller glass. It is similar to grandpa style but instead of drinking from the leaves I am pouring it off, but still leaving some liquid in with the leaves. Sadly I do not have a gooseneck kettle (the only time I really want one is when I am dealing with delicate teas) and I have a very unsteady hand, so my bludgeoning pour meant a few leaf crumbs were broken off, I mention this because they were not there until I poured a deluge onto the leaves and all over my teadesk while trying to pour on the side of the cup. Oops. The aroma of the now wet leaves is green and crisp, notes of asparagus, cabbage, green beans, lima beans, spinach and peas dance with a subtle orchid and sesame notes. The liquid is light and sweet, notes of snap peas and chestnut with a hint of distant peony and cooked rutabaga.

The first steep is so crisp and green, crisp in taste and texture! It starts with notes of lettuce, water chestnuts, and bean sprouts. I have had other greens with notes of sprouts and water chestnut, but this one is the most distinct, I feel like I just bit into lightly sauteed both, still crisp and a touch raw, but with that slight cooked taste. Towards the finish notes of green bean and cooked peas, finishing a bit more savory than the start with a lingering aftertaste of alfalfa sprouts.

Oh my that is so smooth! Where the first steep was crisp, this steep is buttery and smooth. Blending notes of cooked spinach and cooked bean spouts with green bean and chestnut, I feel as though I am drinking the liquid form of a wonderful stir fry with a side of roasted chestnuts for dessert. The finish is a blend of cooked collards and cooked peas with a hint of starchy lima beans, the aftertaste is a delicate rain water on peony blossom that does not last too terribly long and has an almost effervescent quality.

This next steep is like a blend of the other two but with added fun, the crisp flavor notes of the first and the smooth mouthfeel of the second. It starts with sweet and crisp snap peas, water chestnut, and squash blossoms. Then it moves to cooked peas, bean sprouts, sweet chestnuts, and a gentle orchid note that blooms into the aftertaste. One of the best things about this tea is its longevity, usually a lot of greens kinda piddle out at steep three, but not this one, I sat and refilled it a good six times before I was too full of tea. Gongfu is hard when you are solo-ing a large amount!! I am so glad I gave this style tea another try, totally worth it.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/10/meimei-fine-teas-tai-ping-hou-kui-green.html

ashmanra

Glad your family is safe! I have friends in Charleston, too, but oddly the city in live in has been hit hardest. We had flooding from heavy rain last week and got over 14 inches today. Roads are out, trees are down, power outages all over – though not ours, thank heavens! Our water is barely trickling though as the pump stations are flooded and there may be water main breaks. We are under a boil advisory until further and the city has a 7 pm to 7 am curfew. I am in Fayetteville, NC.

TeaNecromancer

Oh wow, that is crazy intense for that region!! I am glad that you still have power and hope things get cleaned up soon!!

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Last night while playing Ark: Scorched Earth, I finally ran into a Death Worm, and then several other Death Worms, and then an Alpha Death Worm. I find this very amusing since it has taken me forever to find one, let alone several! The trick was using a Wyvern (specifically my really OP Fire Wyvern named Nicol Bolas) and flying at full speed, you see them pop onto screen for just a second while things render in, then I lander and teased one out of the sand and proceeded to eat its face. My first encounter went a bit differently though, I was on my Lightning Wyvern (whose name is Kolagan, yes I have themed all the names around Tarkir) and was out hunting new high level eggs in the World Scar when I landed and out popped a worm! It was very exciting!

Today I am looking at one of my favorite types of Chinese green teas, Artisan Liu An Gua Pian (Sunflower Seeds) Green Tea from MeiMei Fine Teas. It is a fascinating type of tea, hailing from Anhui, instead of the usual buds that are used for green, this tea uses the second leaf and it is plucked so that all of the leaf stem (or petiole for the botany types) is left behind. It is then fried on a wok and rolled giving it the iconic seed shape. The aroma is lovely, you can smell the roasting of the green for sure, giving it a toasted sesame and sunflower seed aroma along with crisp notes of zucchini, peas, asparagus and a very distant savory kelp note. It is very fresh and green, with the toasted notes giving it a sweetness.

One of the things that makes this tea a favorite is its versatility in brewing, you can do just about anything to this tea and it still tastes good. I love gongfu-ing this tea, but my real favorite way of drinking it is good ol’ bowl style, just tossing the leaves into a bowl or travel steeper and topping off with hot water as the day goes on is wonderful. Part of the thing that makes it so enjoyable is the appearance of the vibrant green leaves floating in the water, they are beautifully emerald. Of course the smell isn’t half bad either! It is a blend of savory asparagus and bok choy with slightly sweet and green peas and a tiny bit of cooked spinach. You can tell this is a green vegetal tea, with only a hint of nuttiness.

The first emptying of the bowl (or in my case very large clay rabbit cup) is wonderfully green and refreshing! It has a touch of thickness, but mostly the mouthfeel is smooth and light, which compliments the vegetal notes well I think. There are touches of sweet chestnut and snap peas, a crisp note of asparagus and spinach, with a buttery vegetal finish of bok choy and peas with a tiny hint of cooked zucchini. The aftertaste is sweet, lingering chestnut in the mouth which outlasted my patience for more sips (what? I was thirsty!)

Later refills really bring the sweetness, with crisp notes of snap peas and raw bell peppers (think just the juicy inside and not the skin) with a tiny bit of bean sprouts and a lingering sweet chestnut. Definitely the tea to lazily sip on a hot day since it is so refreshing, even though it is warm, the crisp vegetal notes always seem very cool to me. Even though I am writing this (and sipping at the same time, I started writing and realized ‘hey I want some of that’) on a cool day it still is very refreshing.

I definitely recommend trying it this way, it is a great way to enjoy a quality tea. The finishing refills are buttery and almost savory, with lingering light spinach and bok choy notes and sweet chestnut linger aftertaste. It lasted for a few refills, like most greens it does not have a ton of longevity (when compared to the likes of Oolongs and Puerh) but when it is around it is great.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/09/meimei-fine-teas-artisan-liu-gua-pian.html

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So, someone who has messed with the Xbone recently did a dumb. Turns out my screen is fine, it was just plugged into the wrong port! I am not sure if it was Ben or myself that did such a daft thing, but it was certainly me that unplugged and replugged it into the same port a couple times while trying to troubleshoot it, it wasn’t until I was plugging in my USB charger that I realized the mistake. All that sad flailing earlier in the week was for naught, though I certainly wouldn’t complain about getting a nicer and larger screen!

Today I am looking at Keemun Imperial Gongfu Black Tea from MeiMei Fine Teas, and before I get into the tea I have a bit of a story. About a week before the tea arrived I was talking with Ben about tweaking the recipe on Ravnican Caravan, the blend I developed for his birthday. I told him I was thinking of removing the Shui Xian and adding Keemun instead, since adding a bit of fruity sweet would add more balance to the tea, and there was already enough char/smoke from the Lapsang. He agreed this was a good idea, but was concerned by the apparently very hilarious expression I had on my face. Asking what was wrong, with shock, I told him ‘I haven’t had a Keemun in over two years!’ It was like I had forgotten that tea existed, which is tragic since I used to LOVE it, this was something that needed rectifying, and MeiMei Fine Teas came to my rescue! The aroma of the delicate leaves is wonderful, very sweet with notes of raspberries, plums, cherries, and apricot mix with delicate distant floral, and the distinct malt/yam blend that lets me know this is a hong cha. I had no problem getting lost sniffing this tea, oh Keemun I have missed you!!

Into the green shibo the leaves go for a steeping and wow, that aroma is something else! Very fruity sweet notes of raspberries, plums, and cherries with underlying notes of squash flowers, wildflowers, and rich yams and peanuts. There is a lot going on in the wet leaves and it took several sniffs to process all the layers. The liquid smells sweet, though not quite as strongly as the wet leaves, instead it is more rich with its notes of yams, peanuts, squash, squash blossoms, and a finish of dark cherries. It also has a tiny hint of an aroma similar to red wine, specifically cherries cooked in red wine, which adds to the richness.

So the first steep starts out a bit brisk…wait…no it doesn’t. It switches to smooth so quickly that I thought I imagined it, but no, it is there. The taste starts with fruity sweetness, blending cherries and lighter apricot with a touch of plums. Then it moves to a floral and earthy (only slightly) blend of acorn squash, squash blossoms, and poplar tree flowers. The finish is a smooth blend of plums and malt with a lingering gentle yamminess that gives a slight starchy quality to the end.

That tiny bit of briskness that popped up in the first steep has totally vanished, replaced by a smooth mouthfeel and a distinct brightness, it feels like light in my mouth, no heaviness but not airy, just light and bright and putting me in a pleasantly cheerful mood. Honestly it is impossible to be in a bad mood while drinking this beauty, with sweet notes of red wine stewed plums and cherries, squash blossoms and poplar flowers, and a yammy peanut finish, it is both well balanced and tasty.

This steep is still quite fruity and sweet, strong notes of those cherries and plums stewed in red wine, with an added slice of apricot. However in the middle the flowery notes are all but gone, a bit of polar remains, but mostly there is rich malt and intensely starchy yams with a gentle peanut finish. I am so sorry Keemun, I will never forget you again. Luckily for me this tea had longevity, so I got more steeps out of it, though that has not stopped me from almost finishing my sample already!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/08/meimei-fine-teas-keemun-imperial-gongfu.html

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Sometimes, fantasy names sound better in our heads than they do on paper, and that is what I assume happened with Shyish. Today I was reading the booklet that came in my Age of Sigmar starter box and ran into the word Shyish, ‘The deathrattle legions stalk from Shyish’s underworlds, the cold mists of the grave curling towards their mortal prey’ describing an army of undead. To me, this sounds like describing someone who is only a little shy, rather than the purple wind of magic and the Aethyric certainty of the passage of time and the inevitability of death. The most mysterious and terrible of the wholesome forms of magic. Warhammer is a silly place, it is awesome but sometimes I run into things like this and just lose it.

Today I am taking a look at MeiMei Fine Tea’s En Shi Jade Dew Green Tea, also known as En Shi Yulu, from the Wuliang Mountains in Hubei. This is last year’s harvest, in fact my little stash of this tea is long gone, this is just me going though my ever expanding pile of notebooks, because I have to take notes on every tea I drink. MeiMei Fine Tea is (according to the beautiful photos on their Instagram feed) out sourcing tea in China, so I would not be surprised if this year’s harvest shows up soon. The aroma of the really pretty curly leaves is surprisingly sweet and nutty, blending notes of toasted sesame and wheat germ with peanuts and roasted soybeans. Underneath the nuttier notes is a touch of sweet peas and snap peas, it is lightly vegetal in aroma, focusing more on grains and nutty sweetness in its aroma.

This tea is fancy, not only is it pan fired like most green teas from China, it is also steamed like greens are mostly done in Japan (and like it was done in the old days of Chinese tea) it is then hand rolled and lightly fired more to remove moisture. The aroma of the wet and very green leaves is more balanced with its nutty and green notes, with a blend of sesame and soybeans, with snap peas, sweet peas, broccoli and green beans, they definitely smell more vegetal once steeped. The liquid is gentle with nutty sweetness of peanuts and toasted soybeans and a slight bit of sweet peas and cooked broccoli.

The first steep is wonderfully light and refreshing, with a gentle mouthfeel. It starts with fresh bell pepper and snap peas, moves to cabbage and broccoli, and finishes with artichokes and sesame seeds with a distant gentle floral note that teases from the edge of taste. I was really impressed by how fresh this tea tasted, not in a ‘fresh from the field’ kinda way, but in a ‘wow this tasted freshens my mind’ the flavor notes are very fresh in nature.

On to the second steep, the aroma is stronger this time, nutty notes of peanuts and sesame with a soybean finish, alongside green beans and bell peppers, it is both sweet and savory. Wow, this steep was impressive! It starts very crisp with notes of bell pepper and nap peas, a bit of edamame as well, then it moves to a more savory vegetal quality with cooked spinach and green beans, but then the finish slams you with sweet honey drizzled sesame seeds. I love when teas do that, switch from tones quickly, it keeps my brain from becoming complacent when tasting.

The third steeping’s aroma is not much changed from the second, strong notes of sesame and soy with peanuts alongside green notes of bell peppers and green beans, it is a touch sweeter this time, overshadowing the savory side. The taste takes its cues from the aroma, similar to the second but milder and more sweet. The savory burst of green beans and spinach at the midtaste is much shorter and quickly replaced by honey and sesame seeds which lingers longer in the aftertaste. I was sad when I finished this tea off, it was quite tasty and balanced savory and sweet wonderfully I thought.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/04/meimei-fine-teas-en-shi-jade-dew-green.html

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It is update day! Ark got the Xbox update which has the new animals and caves, most of which I am ambivalent about…except for the much anticipated Dunkleosteus. So far my attempts at taming one has been fail, mostly because the info on taming them is incomplete on the wiki (still too new) and also because I have seen two. Funnily enough I did run into my first wild Mosasaurus, it is very hard to see at the bottom of the sea and I thought the oddly shaped thing in the distance was the new Dunkle…so I took my Plesiosaurus (really it is an Elasmasaurus) to investigate, and once it was very clearly not a Dunkle (Ark’s term for it, not mine) I took off running…err…swimming. It was surprising since Mossies are very rare and not supposed to be in the area I was, sigh, if only I had the kibble.

It is springtime, meaning all my favorite tea companies that I hound on social media are posting updates of their spring harvest, and even though I don’t drink as much green tea as I used to, I still find myself drooling and finishing off last year’s harvest to fill the green void. One such tea is MeiMei Fine Teas’ Organic Sichuan Mao Feng Green Tea, a green tea from Gao Xian county in Sichuan. The aroma of the gently curling leaves is both green and sweet, notes of chestnut and sesame seeds blend with cherries and notes of green beans, sage, and bamboo to pull in the green. I do enjoy teas where the majority of the sweet notes come from its nutty quality, but that cherry not is quite tasty smelling.

After a visit with the gaiwan and some hot water, the aroma loses most its sweetness and ramps up the green, notes of spinach, artichoke, green beans, and Brussels sprouts with an underlying savory mushroom broth and sesame nuttiness. It smells a bit like stir-fry. The liquid is savory, notes of bok-choy, asparagus, mushroom broth and Brussels sprouts waft out of the pale tea and into my nose.

This is a very smooth green, especially in the mouthfeel department, it is gentle and smooth but not at all thick. It tastes very green, strong notes of kale (but without the bitterness, more like cooked kale) and spinach with Brussels sprouts and green beans. The finish is a blend of asparagus and green beans with a light sesame seed sweetness in the aftertaste.

On to the second steep, the previously light colored liquid takes on more of a richer green and the leaves have plumped up quite a bit. The aroma is very green, reminding me again of stir-fry, but with a stronger asparagus note, it is not quite as savory but it is still very green. The taste is richly green, notes of asparagus and green beans dance with sharp raw broccoli and celery, and a finish of sesame seeds and kale. I feel like I have gotten my daily need for veggies now!

I’m really not sure what I prefer, green teas that are savory and vegetal or ones that are sweet, both are so delicious, but I honestly cannot pick a favorite. This steep’s aroma takes on a buttery quality, almost a yellow squash tone to its buttery note, with broccoli, cooked cabbage, and bok-choy being the strongest notes. The taste this time is mostly sweet, buttery chestnut with sesame and a touch of honey at the aftertaste. This steep is not nuanced but it is like a sweet palate cleanser at the end of a meal.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/04/meimei-fine-teas-organinc-sichuan-mao.html

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Wooo!!! The long awaited Minecraft console update is out! I saw it as soon as I woke up and have been busily playing ever since. I am in a happy place, building with the new blocks and playing the the Guardians (I made them an aquarium.) A lot of my builds are getting spruced up with new blocks, especially the various Ocean monument blocks because they are blue. Perfect timing, since I feel like I am coming down with a cold, so now I have an excuse to take it easy for the next couple days.

Today’s tea comes from Sichuan by way of MeiMei Fine Teas. Organic Sichuan Zao Bai Jian Premium Green Tea. Usually this tea is processed as a black/red tea, at least everything I read about this tea lists Zao Bai Jian as Imperial Black, but with all teas, you can process the leaves in a myriad of ways, so why not process it as a green, and they are pretty leaves at that, curly little leaves with a silvery shimmer to them. The aroma is crisp and green, notes of gentle chestnuts and almonds along side sweet peas, artichoke, greenbeans, and a touch of celery. It smells quite rich and the vegetal notes are accented nicely by the nutty ones.

In the gaiwan after steeping, the leaves are so vibrantly green, the aroma of the wet leaves is a bit brothy with notes of vegetable broth. sauteed bok choy and asparagus, sesame seeds and water chestnuts. It is rather savory and reminds me of food. The liquid, however, is gentle sweet like roasted chestnuts and sesames with a touch of water chestnut’s crispness, and a blend of asparagus and broccoli.

First steeping is very smooth and green, like an explosion of green in my mouth! Notes of veggie broth and sauteed bok choy with a hint of sweet peas. This gentle sweetness moves into chestnut and water chestnut, with a finish of sugar cane. It is mellow and sweet at the finish which is a fun contrast with the savory vegetal start.

On to the second steep! The aroma is very green and fresh, notes of sweet peas, celery, bean sprouts, and bok choy, it is a bit broth like again, but more like crisp veggies overall. The taste starts out veggie heavy again, notes of cooked bok choy, mustard greens, bean sprouts, and asparagus eventually fade to sweet peas and water chestnuts, and again a finish of sugar cane. The sweet at the finish is rather refreshing.

I did not take too detailed notes as of steep three, mostly because it was mostly like steep two but less, no real change except diminished. I will say this for this particular tea, it was immensely refreshing. It is not the most memorable or nuanced tea I have had, and certainly not the best I have had from MeiMei Fine Teas, though it is tasty so it has my slurp of approval.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/meimei-fine-teas-organic-sichuan-zao.html

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Today I bought a few teas into work because I thought I could get them out of the way… aka, these were ones that I thought wouldn’t taste good.
A yellow tea was easily picked because I have yet to have a good yellow tea. All the yellows (only six) that I have drank have been a bit musky and odd with the nut notes.

This one however was a bit thicker and had some fur on it which made me think different when I opened it up. The look of the leaf appealed to me so I took my time and measured everything out right at work and ended up steeping this twice :)

The nutty notes work quite well with the warmth that this tea is at when steeped. The ‘funk’ isn’t detected in this tea which makes me quite glad because I’ve really disliked my yellow tea journey so far. The yellow from What Cha was close, but it was too strong. This one is a bit delicate but still lets you know who it is.

Thanks Amanda, I probably would have never bought this to try after all my other experiences. Glad I tried it :)

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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.

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. Plus, it stays consistent across steeps: the jasmine flavour is just as strong (without being cloying) on the second steep as on the first.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/11/four-teas-from-mei-mei-fine-teas/

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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.

The first steep is sweet, with an undertone of herbs and honey, and an aftertaste somewhat “chemical” but soft. 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.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/11/four-teas-from-mei-mei-fine-teas/

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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.

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.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/11/four-teas-from-mei-mei-fine-teas/

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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 taste during both steeps was consistent — very vegetal and green-beany. Mild, not very assuming, and frankly, not very different from many green teas I’ve tried.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/11/four-teas-from-mei-mei-fine-teas/

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I have been just awful at consistency with blogging the last week or so, and I apologize for that! Don’t worry, I am not losing the love of tea or blogging at all, quite the contrary, I still love it and promise I am not going anywhere. It has mostly been a combination of things: seasonal change makes me restless and distracted, Ben works too much so his days off I spend focusing on hanging out and errand running, lowering my meds so the normal accompanying headaches (boo yet yay for getting off my meds for a bit) and the inevitable multi-hour long Minecraft binges. Also staring at my fishtank for long amounts of time, I can just get lost watching them.

Hailing from Sichuan, MeiMei Fine Teas’ Zhu Ye Qing (Bamboo Tip Green) a very beautiful Green Tea. This tea specifically is from Meng Ding Mountain, a region well known for its tea production, this beautiful green tea is a rare thing, it has been on my to-try list for a while and it is a giant pain to get a hold of! Have I mentioned this tea is really pretty? Seriously though, a while ago I was researching teas and ran across this one and was sold from the first moment I saw the leaves that look like they came fresh from the bush, I fell in love…I could only imagine what such evocative of bamboo (name drop) forests and spring growth would taste like, and now I get to find out! The aroma is sharp and green, strong notes of bell pepper, bamboo leaves, celery, and parsley with an under note sweet and nutty combo of sesame seeds, dried peas, and gentle honey. This is a very vegetal tea, though it is tempered some with a gentle nutty finish.

After brewing, I honestly has a moment of thinking someone has played a trick on me because the wet leaves smell EXACTLY like cooked asparagus, complete with a bit of butter! It gave me a bit of a giggle, and after the giggling subsided, the notes that showed up next are cooked spinach, peas, and a touch of sharp bell peppers. The liquid is asparagus again, with notes of savory spinach and a touch of buttery sesame and a tiny hint of distant wildflowers, giving the tea a bit of a pollen note. Like the aroma of fresh daisies.

First steeping, must contain excitement or I will end up wearing my dainty gongfu cup of tea instead of drinking it. Hands up if you have spilled at least one of these little cups on yourself (or your friends, family, or pets.) The mouthfeel starts out smooth and well rounded, exciting for a first steep, usually they can be a bit weak, but this one just coats the mouth with its smoothness. The taste starts very vegetal, savory notes of asparagus and and spinach but then leaning towards the sweeter with a note of peas. The taste finished with bell pepper and a tiny bit of sesame, truly this is a green tea.

Second steep time! The aroma is so green, strong notes of asparagus, bell pepper, peas, and a touch of bamboo shoots at the finish. Again the mouthfeel is quite well rounded and smooth, though this time the taste is not all savory vegetal notes, this time it starts with a buttery sweet sesame note. After that it goes to peas and then asparagus and spinach. The finish is bamboo shoots, and it lingers for just a bit.

Third steep brings aroma notes of asparagus, bell pepper, bamboo shoots and leaves, and a tiny touch of nuttiness at the finish. The mouthfeel is not quite as round this time around, a bit lighter but still just as smooth. The taste is starting out with sesame seeds and peas, moving to bamboo leaves and bell peppers, with an incredibly sweet honey note at the finish that lingers for quite a while. This tea was well worth the wait, definitely one that is a combination of eye-candy and delicious!

Blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/10/meimei-fine-teas-zhu-ye-qing-bamboo-tip.html

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Guys, guys, guys!!! My new kettle arrived yesterday!! Sadly I only barely got to use it since shortly after waking (and getting some tea in me) I had to leave for errands and gaming, yes I finally got to go gaming again. I am slowly getting better, it is hard, but I am making a gradual recovery. Not only did my kettle arrive (ah the sweet sound of roaring water, it is music to my ears) but a miniature I ordered a while ago finally arrived at the shop for pick-up, Marike Guardian of the Sea probably the most egotistical paint jobs I will ever do. See I saw this blue haired girly wearing a ton of epic armor and standing on a sea monster while holding an octopus and I immediately thought ‘oh hey, someone made a model of me’ since I have perpetual mermaid envy. Since I cannot actually be a sea creature, I am going to paint her to be me, yeah, it is pretty silly, but I am a very silly person.

Before I start tea rambling, I should warn my dear readers, I am utterly tea drunk, so if this review gets random and loopy, that is totally my excuse. So, tea, specifically today’s tea, MeiMei Fine Tea’s Sichuan Imperial Gongfu Black Tea (Gui Fei Hong), a beautiful red tea from Sichuan (specifically Gao Xian County in the Southwest) with a name Gui Fei Hong, or red concubine, which makes me wonder if this is a bug bitten tea, since that is what concubine teas bring to mind. It could just be a pretty name though, which I am perfectly fine with…I mean let’s face it, if you put a golden fuzzy red tea in front of me I will jump on it like a starving hyena, I have a weakness for them. The aroma of the really pretty leaves (they are practically sparkly from the fuzzies) is rich and malty, with notes of molasses, cocoa shells, pine resin, red peppercorns, and a gentle sweetness at the finish. This is not a very sweet smelling tea, this one is all about richness, and that gentle spiciness from the peppercorn note adds an interesting well, spice to it.

Into my sad gaiwan the tea leaves go, even though this sage green gaiwan is problematic, the leaves are super pretty against the color of the gaiwan. The aroma of the soggy leaves is a bit sweeter than the dry leaves, with strong notes of malt, cocoa, pine resin and sap, and a touch of pepper. I really enjoy teas with strong pine resin notes, they remind me of happy forest rambling. The liquid is sweet cocoa and malt with a touch of peppercorn and a nice burst of sweet pine sap. The sweetness is like cocoa and honey mixed together, but not exactly chocolate.

The first steep starts with a delightfully smooth mouth, and the taste is sweet, very sweet! It starts as cocoa and malt, and it moves straight on to milk chocolate. The chocolate taste lingers for quite a while, it then moves to a resinous finish giving it a slightly dry mouth at the end.

For the second steep, the aroma is malty and resinous with a strong cocoa and honey note, it is sweet and rich in a balanced way. The taste starts off quite sweet and malty, cocoa and honey with a nice strong malty note. This moves to a touch of roasted peanuts and a finish of resin and molasses, rich and sweet. The mouthfeel is not sticky, but the notes of resin and molasses make it seem thick and sticky, which is a fascinating mind over matter kinda thing.

On to the third steep, the aroma is a triple threat of cocoa, malt, and resin, and those notes are devilishly sweet. The farther into the session I go, the sweeter the aroma is. The taste is sweet and smooth, malty and resinous. Cocoa and honey, molasses and pine, this tea is potent, I got several more steeps before it piddled out, and also used the rest of my sample western style while waiting for my new kettle. Western style is solid, sweet and malty, but this tea really shines when it is brewed gongfu.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/10/meimei-fine-teas-sichuan-imperial.html

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I had the most delicious plum today, really it was amazing. Not the most informative intros about how my day went, but all thought of the day pre-plum just kinda vanish in a fruit filled haze.

Today we are taking a look at West Lake Dragon Well Green Tea (Long Jing) by MeiMei Fine Teas, ah Dragon Well, you are a tea I have a serious soft spot for, probably one of the spring harvest teas I get most excited over. This specific Long Jing was harvested pre-April 5th, making it a Pre Qing Ming tea, one of the more coveted of harvests. When looking at the leaves I noticed some had wonderful trichome fuzzballs, a sign that yep, these are picked super early and have their young leaf fuzziness, most of the fuzz gets rubbed off during pan firing, but some gets left behind as little fuzzballs. I call them lucky, because whenever I see them I know I am in for a treat. Sniffing the leaves, and hello vegetal! Take bell peppers, green beans and Lima beans and saute them with some sesame seed oil and a touch of sweet honey and you have the aroma for these leaves. Just at the start of the saute process too since the bell pepper note still has its crispness.

The tea has made its way into my dragon gaiwan for its steeping, I kinda lost track of time and steeped it a little longer than I meant to, so hopefully that won’t ruin all the things. The aroma of the soggy leaves is very green, keeping that Lima bean, green beans, and bell pepper and adding in some okra and only the slightest touch of sesame seeds. The liquid is light and green, notes of green beans, sesame seeds and bell pepper mix with an undertone of honey.

First steeping time, did I ruin it by over steeping? Pfft, no, though I think I did remove any chance of the first steep being very sweet. It starts smooth and a little tingly from the trichomes, the taste is mostly savory, only a hint of sweet at the finish that lingers as an aftertaste. Notes of green beans, Lima beans, bell peppers, and artichoke make up the tasting profile. It is crisp and refreshing in its smoothness.

Onward to steep number two! The aroma is vegetal and savory, only a tiny hint of sweetness at the tale end of the sniffing. The taste starts sweet this time, like sesame seeds and a gentle note of honey. This moves on to a strong vegetal and slight nuttiness, and then finishes with sweetness. I did have a third steep, but it was pretty mild and mellow, since I steeped it too long at first steep. Also, fun fact, this tea was awesome in my travel steeper, kept me going through a rather vigorous game of D&D!

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/meimei-fine-teas-west-lake-dragon-well.html

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It is a beautiful day today, a strong breeze and cool air (though alas, not as cool as yesterday) a crisp blue sky, and the wonderful sound of leaves rustling around outside. I have my windows open (throwing caution to the wind regards to allergies!) and I am just loving the breeze, though I do admit it made varnishing my miniatures a real nightmare earlier. There is a 70% chance of storms this evening, and if it does storm, I will decry this a perfect day weather wise…start out snuggling in a sweater, finish in a t-shirt. Total win.

So, remember a while ago I mentioned MeiMei Fine Teas as a tea shop that would be opening soon? Well, good news everyone, they opened! So that means it is time to look at another one of their teas, specifically Meng Ding Sweet Dew (or Meng Ding Gan Lu) a gloriously fuzzy and very delicate green tea. Seriously the leaves are so tiny and curly, with a delicate coating of silver trichomes, they are very pretty little things. The aroma of the little leaves is very green and vegetal, strong notes of artichoke and asparagus mix with parsnip and greenbeans, with an addition of a sweet touch of sesame seeds and a crisp note of celery at the finish. I am pleased to announce while sniffing I did not manage to get any up my nose, victory!

I decided to brew these in my green tea pot, and not just because I tend to go giggly when I see the beautiful contrast of red clay and green leaves. The aroma of the less fuzzy but very vibrant leaves is a fresh burst of vegetal greenness. Notes of fresh spinach, celery, and artichoke with a distinct note of parsnip, which is entertaining since it is both sharp and sweet, and not a note I encounter very often. The liquid is a blend of parsnip, spinach, and a hint of sesame, just a touch on the sweet side and very green and fresh.

First steep is buttery while also being light, not a tea that coats the mouth, more like it dances on the tongue light as a breeze. It starts out surprisingly sweet, with notes of sesame seeds and honey, this moves to parsnips and spinach, the finish is where it is at though. Perhaps it is the placebo effect of the name, but the taste reminds me of the taste of morning dew off leaves, refreshing and clean. This pleases me.

Onward to the second steeping, the aroma is sweet and vegetal, sharp notes of parsnip and rich notes of spinach. The mouthfeel is a bit thicker this time, the taste does not really change from the previous steep, the parsnip and spinach notes with accompanying sweetness remain, but the notes are more intense this time around. The dew like cleanliness at the end is still there as well, but it is not stronger since stronger dew would be a bit odd.

Third steeping time! The aroma has a stronger parsnip note this time, sweet and sharp with a slight hint of greenness from spinach. The taste is very sweet this time, honey sesame and parsnip notes dominate with a lingering spinach note at the finish, no more dew this time, looks like the sun dried it up. This tea did not evolve very much over steeping, but I did not find myself bored, the tea tasted clean and so I went away from it feeling very refreshed.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/meimei-fine-teas-meng-ding-sweet-dew.html

Equusfell

Man, this sounds incredible!

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I forgot how much of a time consuming giant pain building an under-ocean building is on the Xbox 360. Oh what I would give for a pile of sponges! Really though, the PC has it so much better when it comes to building beneath the waves, they even come with pre-built undersea temples…but we are getting an ancient Greece mash-up pack, so for once the Xbox feels superior. I wonder what on earth they will make the Ghasts into, see Ben and I spent a goodly amount of time trying to come up with an ancient world (not just Greece) mythical texture pack, and that one stumped us. Excitement abounds!

Today is a bit of a preview review for MeiMei Fine Teas, a soon to be shop I discovered on Instagram and facebook, they were awesome enough to send me some teas to sample, so I decided to start off with their Meng Ding Yellow Bud (or Mend Ding Huang Ya) a really beautiful Yellow Tea from Sichuan, China. These are beautiful little buds, almost looking like they are fresh from the tea plant, doubly so when they are steeping, and for a fun fact, have been on my to-try list for a while, so happy dance! The aroma of the leaves is gentle and green, light notes of green beans and asparagus, a hint of sweetpeas and bamboo leaves. With these green notes is a hint of toast and grain, buckwheat, chestnut and wheatberries blend really well with the green notes.

I decided to brew this in a tall glass to really showcase the leaves, and what a glorious plan that was! Steeping was so pretty! The aroma of tea is almost entirely all green, notes of green beans, cooked bellpeppers, artichokes, asparagus, and sweetpeas blend with a hint of chestnut and delicate floral undertones. It is a vegetal smorgasbord and a bit mouthwatering, I do love me some vegetal teas, I find them so refreshing, especially this time of year.

So sipping, unlike with a gaiwan or teapot, I do not remove the leaves, basically this is similar to bowl steeping but with a glass. I occasionally need to blow the leaves floating on the surface away, strain with my teeth, or just eat a few because tea is tasty. The first ‘steeping’ for lack of a better way of putting it is green and smooth, initial notes of honey sesame sweetness give way to artichoke and asparagus. The longer the leaves steep the more notes of green beans and sweetpeas pop out, with a tiny bit of pepper at the finish, and a lingering aftertaste of flowers.

Refill time! I like this tea because it does not seem to really get bitter, I can lounge and slowly sip while not getting a face full of overbrewed, so big win there. The second sipping session with this tea is both more sweet and more green than the first. Starting with slightly nutty honey sweetness and a delicate hint of distant floral, then it moves to green beans and artichokes and just a hint of asparagus. I got several refills out of this tea, in fact I am currently lounging with a cup, have been sipping it while playing Minecraft, several hours later and it is still delicious. I have a sneaking suspicion that when MeiMei Fine Teas opens I might have to get a stash of this tea to permanently have on hand!

Blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/meimei-fine-teas-meng-ding-yellow-bud.html

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