This post is sponsored by Masters Teas and Adagio Teas.
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review. All opinions are mine alone.
You can read about how I ended up with some samples from Adagio Teas of their new line: Masters Teas*. Head over to my first tasting - Tai Ping Hou Kui + Dried White Mulberries. This time we brewed their Ma Liu Mi tea. The boys were curious about the description of "monkey-picked," asking if it was really picked by monkeys. I didn't know, so I did some research.
The origin of 'Monkey Picked' oolong tea dates to the early 18th century, when this varietal of tea plant was discovered in the Anxi county of Fujian province. Legend has it that monkeys were trained by monks to pick the choicest leaves from wild tea trees growing in the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian Province. So, no, it isn't really picked by monkeys; but 'monkey-picked' refers to oolong tea of the highest quality.
Unlike the Tai Ping Hou Kui which were pressed to be elegant and long, these were picked with one bud and two or three leaves, then fired by hand and roasted once.
There was a lingering floral note that made me think of citrus, so we opened up a box of rice candy from Japan that has a mild lemon and orange flavor.
The tea poured a light golden straw color with tinges of green. And though it was brisk, it finished with a sweet aftertaste.
We steeped and poured several times. It grew stronger towards the end, but was not at all bitter.
This tea, for Masters, was farmed by Wang Xiang Feng who harvested it in May 2019. Here's an excerpt from a conversation with her on the Masters website. About her favorite part of growing tea: "Our tea farm is in the Wuyi natural protection area. You cannot enter without permission. I love to work in the natural area. Everything is clean, the trees are green, the air is fresh."
And a challenge of growing tea? "I hate bad weather. If it is too cold, our tea buds and tender leaves will be damaged. If it is raining hard, the moisture will be too high to make good tea."