Mei Leaf

Comprehensive member driven guide to vendors of all teas


Nov 20th, '17, 16:38
Posts: 73
Joined: Apr 24th, '10, 10:37

Mei Leaf

by absence » Nov 20th, '17, 16:38

Does anyone have experience with teas from Mei Leaf? They seem to have a lot of interesting stuff, but how is the quality-price ratio?

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Nov 21st, '17, 04:18
Posts: 210
Joined: Dec 25th, '13, 22:59
Location: bangkok

Re: Mei Leaf

by john.b » Nov 21st, '17, 04:18

It seems odd to not pair this with more emphasis on "how are the teas," but I think you're asking the right question.

There was just a discussion of a Mei Leaf product related to a Reddit post (about a specific white tea, but a lot of comments were general, about them as a vendor and generally about products and pricing), and a near-consensus emerged that their teas are ok but value is their weak point; the teas are overpriced. Some of them you don't even need to try the tea to tell that about, they're off the normal category range, above what the types ever sell for, never mind how good they are. I've tried and reviewed their teas but I'll leave it at that; ok teas, but if value is a main concern keep looking.

https://www.reddit.com/r/tea/comments/7 ... _mei_leaf/

Nov 21st, '17, 05:19
Posts: 73
Joined: Apr 24th, '10, 10:37

Re: Mei Leaf

by absence » Nov 21st, '17, 05:19

Thanks, that was just the kind of answer I was looking for, and confirms my gut feeling, unfortunately.

Nov 21st, '17, 06:14
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 24th, '17, 12:41

Re: Mei Leaf

by 12Tea » Nov 21st, '17, 06:14

There Youtube videos are really nice to watch though. Never bought anything from them, so I can't comment on the quality

Nov 21st, '17, 06:24
Posts: 73
Joined: Apr 24th, '10, 10:37

Re: Mei Leaf

by absence » Nov 21st, '17, 06:24

Indeed, that's how I discovered them. Great marketing, as it's both useful and made me interested in their tea. :)

Nov 21st, '17, 20:53
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 9th, '17, 01:35

Re: Mei Leaf

by LadyJ » Nov 21st, '17, 20:53

absence wrote: Indeed, that's how I discovered them. Great marketing, as it's both useful and made me interested in their tea. :)
There are many high quality teas in Asia, ...like Taiwan!! :)

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Nov 22nd, '17, 00:58
Posts: 210
Joined: Dec 25th, '13, 22:59
Location: bangkok

Re: Mei Leaf

by john.b » Nov 22nd, '17, 00:58

If you can narrow down what you want for tea it might be possible to buy versions of it more directly, to skip going through retailers who buy from wholesale distribution chains.

Mei Leaf supposedly sources a lot of their teas directly (and they probably do), but there's nothing stopping a vendor from selling you a tea for ten times what they've bought it for. With the right marketing approach (for example, using Youtube introductory videos to draw consumer attention), a vendor could potentially churn through 100% turnover of their customer base every year and still make a great profit selling teas for two to three times normal retail price.

To some extent it really depends on what you value, sourcing the highest quality teas, or buying teas at value oriented pricing, or some combination of the two. A worst-case is buying medium quality teas at very premium quality level pricing, the same kinds of teas you could get lots of places for any number of different costs, but at the highest possible price.

To me two other options tend to emerge as better cases. For the truly highest quality teas often sourcing curated versions from specialty vendors is typical, which involves paying a normal rate for better teas (on the order of a dollar a gram, let's say). You can still buy teas that are better than average quality level, better than most resale vendors access, for far less, if you can sort out more direct purchasing options. In some very rare cases both come together, and you can get very high quality teas sold more directly for mid-range pricing, but it almost never works out like that. I wrote a blog post about this subject not so long ago:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... rcing.html

Wuyi Origin stands out as probably the vendor selling the best teas that I've mentioned there, but only for Wuyi Yancha and some other types from Wuyishan, and a few Dan Cong and related black teas. I've recently been reviewing Assam teas from Halmari, which sells directly, and their oolong is worth a look if you like the Oriental Beauty / Darjeeling second flush range of citrus heavy more oxidized oolongs or more fruity and complex black teas. Or Assam black tea, of course, but per my personal preference I really like Chinese black teas (or oolongs, or white teas, and I'm ok with pu'er and other hei cha).

Nov 25th, '17, 09:24
Posts: 73
Joined: Apr 24th, '10, 10:37

Re: Mei Leaf

by absence » Nov 25th, '17, 09:24

Thanks for the insight. I'm certainly open to buying directly if it's low-hassle, and will look into your suggestions. I'm not interested in the absolutely highest quality teas though, as their prices are disproportionately higher than the enjoyment I get from them. I do want the highest quality that comprise good value for the money, which of course is highly subjective. ;)

I guess vendors in the same country as the tea is grown can have lower markup than Western vendors (especially ones with brick and mortar shops) for a certain quality, but the question is what that quality is. Yunnan Sourcing seems to have a pretty good quality-price ratio, but sometimes I wish I could spend a little more and get higher quality, and I'm not sure where to turn. Tea Spring and Tea Vivre were suggested to me for different reasons in another thread, but I'll try some samples and see how they compare. More suggestions are very welcome! I'll probably even try some samples form Mei Leaf out of curiosity, but they're currently out of many interesting ones, due to the black friday sale I imagine. :cry:

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