‘Hey Teaheads!’ This probably sounds familiar to you if you’ve ever watched a YouTube video from Don Mei on his channel Mei Leaf. If this doesn’t ring a bell, then be ready to spend the next week watching his videos while sipping teas.
There are many ways to learn about tea if you, like me, are new in this vast world. I’m a fan of reading books but YouTube is a great source of information as well. I discovered the videos of Don Mei relatively late so I had a lot of catching up to do, and they are of great help in understanding more about quality tea.
The visuals are very useful: I’ve already brought into practice how to actually investigate the leaves and see the differences between high grade and medium grade tea. And his tasting notes are fascinating to watch. Somehow it’s incredibly weird to see someone describing a taste and aroma on television, but with the enthusiasm that Don Mei is doing it, you can watch for hours without getting tired of not being able to join him on the tasting.
Don Mei must have been a teacher or has a talent to be one, because the patience with which he explains everything about tea (the process of making the tea, how to brew, how to define quality tea and so on) is incredible. His videos are for tealovers of every level: there are many useful videos on step-in-topics like ‘teabags vs. loose leaf tea’ and the different types of tea, but also on more detailed topics like the terpenses in Bai Hao Oolong (Oriental Beauty). In the tea tasting videos he analyses the tea by using SCOPE: Season (S), Cultivar (C), Origin (O), Picking & Processing (P) and Elevation (E).
The YouTube channel has different kinds of playlists to make it easy for you to browse through the different levels and topics. There is the Drinking with Friends playlist, Basic Tea Education playlist and, my absolute favorite, the Tea Trips playlist. The video on Don Mei sourcing his Dan Cong teas in China gives you a unique insight of a world normally unknown to the common tealover.
So, wrapping up with the words of Don Mei at the end of every video: ‘Thank you for being a part of the revelation of true tea, stay away from the tea bags, keep drinking the good stuff and spread the word, because nobody deserves to drink bad tea.’