Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: long, dark, and twisted
Steep time: 10 seconds
Water Temperature: 210 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
I first came across this tea while scrolling through my Instagram feed. World of Tea had posted a picture and I was definitely intrigued. Luckily, the company say my comment on the post and offered to send some for me to try. Dancong are among my favorite oolongs but I had never heard of Chi Ye. According to Mei Mei Fine Tea’s website, the name means “red leaf”. It is a new variety that was developed from Bai Ye, which is a tea that I have enjoyed many times before.
At first glance, it did not seem very different from other dancongs that I have had. The dry leaf was long, spindly, and fairly dark in color. They had a slightly smoky aroma but didn’t give much else away as far as what the taste might be like. Dancong is one of the few teas that I will go lighter on when it comes to brewing parameters. The flash steeping times with gradual increases that the vendor recommended really helped this tea shine.
The taste was mellow with just a hint of the smokiness that I had detected in the dry leaf. Dancong are usually known for their notes of stone fruity but this one was a bit different. It brought to mind ripe plums and cherries. That fruitiness lingered on my lips and the sides of my tongue after each sip. The aftertaste was all brown sugar sweetness. Although there was some astringency, it never became unpleasant.
This is the first tea that I’ve reviewed from this company on the blog but it will definitely not be the last. I’ve got another dancong as well as Bing Dao dragon balls coming down the pipeline. So far I’m impressed by the quality of their teas. Victoria, the founder and CEO, quit her professional job in 2015 to start Mei Mei Fine Teas. She goes on sourcing trips several times a year to curate their collection.
Have you ever tried this tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.