JDX: Your Starting Point For Pu Erh And Other Chinese Teas
Officially, Tea Is Part Of Malaysian Culture
Whether sweetened or milky or enjoyed with tapioca bubbles, the amber drink is so timelessly enjoyed by Malaysians, that it’s even the summon for socialising and hanging out. Jom, yum cha!
While the local preference for tea is a strongly brewed Ceylon, you’ll find that many traditional Malaysian-Chinese homes, restaurants and businesses prefer an invigorating cup of Chinese tea.
The Malaysian-Chinese Tea Roots
Tea has uplifted many Malaysian-Chinese migrants throughout their trade days in fifteenth-century Malaya and continues to be a household staple for the Malaysian-Chinese people until today.
What’s different now probably is how tea is drank across the community…
Back then, the type of tea a person drank would depend on their dialect group. Green tea was enjoyed by the Hakka people. Oolong for the Hokkiens. And Liu Pao was preferred by The Cantonese.
Today, all types of Chinese tea are enjoyed by Malaysian-Chinese regardless of ethnicity and the drink is welcomed by Chinese tea aficionados who collect and appreciate the botanical drink as an art.
Tea, Taste And A Whole Lot Of Process
In Chinese tea tasting, the quality of the tea, flavour and aroma take centre stage. Much like savouring a fine wine or liquor, the drinker should be able to savour the tea thoroughly.
Only high-grade tea leaves make the cut for clean tasting. The finest leaves pack the most pleasing flavour and bring forth the qualities of tea spirit best: “Clearness, respect, joy and truthfulness”.
While the loose, bone dry leaves of Chinese tea might look easy to produce, the process involved is a long and laborious one. Like a fine whiskey being distilled, the process is necessary to produce tea’s array of invigorating flavours.
It begins with the harvest. Raw tea leaves are always handpicked by skilled harvesters otherwise the tea will lack smoothness. The next step is the procedure. How the tea is processed at this stage ultimately decides what type of tea is produced.
Green teas for instance go through three steps: Steaming, rolling and finally, drying. White teas, on the other hand, need to be baked, lightly rolled and then, dried.
Oolong is a bit fussier with a tedious six-step process that involves partial fermentation and firing for up to 7 hours. But the complex sunny flavour of an Oolong is worth it.
For some teas, detail to process is especially important. Poorly processed, the tea ends up tasting of moist compost but when done properly, a rich woodland brew is produced with a taste that improves over the years as the tea cake ages.
The tea best known for this is Pu Erh — the most prized fermented tea.
Pu Erh: A Tea Like No Other
What makes Pu Erh so special (and prized) by tea enthusiasts is the ultra-intricate process that goes into producing the tea.
Pu Erh is an “aged tea” and as the name suggests, the harvested tea leaves are put through a “ripening” process of months, years, sometimes decades, to mature the flavour of the tea.
Here’s where it gets delicate…
Unlike most teas, Pu Erh requires the presence of bacteria and yeast to “age” the tea. Raw Pu Erh tea leaves are roasted just enough to allow a wick of moisture to remain so that microbial activity can occur within the leaves.
With time and careful control of temperature, moisture and microbial presence, the molecular composition of the raw leaves change and the tea leaf batch ferments into something more mellow, rich-tasting and woody: Pu Erh.
Beware Of Fakes: Source Your Pu Erh From Reliable Tea Supplier
Since Pu Erh is so valuable and sought after, there has been a deluge of imitations in the market.
Unlike fake gold which can be easily identified, a fake Pu Erh tea cake can only be determined through taste or intimate knowledge. Like the origin of the tea, production date, season and producer.
That’s why when you’re starting out in the world of Pu Erh, it matters to buy from a source that obtains their supply from a high-quality (and original) Pu Erh source.
So, Who Should You Buy Your Tea From?
The Menghai Tea Factory, Xiaguan, Changtai, Chen Yuan Hao and Yang Qing Hao — take note of these names.
These are China’s most reputable producers of Pu Erh, producing tea cakes that carry a Dom Perignon-like status within the industry.
If you’re Malaysian, don’t think you have to travel all the way to China to sample authentic Pu Erh. The fine tea is stocked closer to you in Jiu Ding Xiang outlets which carry Pu Erh from the biggest of these distinguished brands: The Menghai Tea Factory.
The Tea Universe Of JDX
The “Jiu Ding Xiang” brand (also known as JDX) is one of Malaysia’s most trusted tea suppliers and the country’s sole importer of TAETEA tea, the group that operates the Menghai Tea Factory.
Founded in 1997 by couple Mr Jong Yew Hock and Madam Irene Choo, JDX began as a little yellow van bringing varieties of Chinese tea to the community. But over the years, JDX Tea grew into the preferred tea supplier for more than 1,500 restaurants in Penisular Malaysia with tea stocked in AEON Malaysia as well.
TaeTea x JDX
As official distributors of TaeTea, JDX brings in a selection of genuine raw and ripe Pu Erh produced directly at the Menghai Tea Factory. They also sell other Chinese teas like Oolong, Green Tea and Liu Pao.
Aside from tea supply, JDX also offers professional tea services. So if you’re a newbie tea enthusiast, you can learn about the art of tea from the brand itself.
If you’re a tea collector, JDX has professional storage, reacquisition and transaction assistance to bring you one step closer to the tea experience they’re looking for. Very helpful.
No matter where you are in your tea journey, a trip to a JDX store is a great starting point to learn more about Chinese tea. With 7 tea stores and 1 tea storage centre around KL and Selangor, you are probably only a stone’s throw away from an outlet.
Visit them at these locations:
- Kepong Headquarters
203, Jalan 1, Taman Perusahaan Ehsan Jaya, Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur.
- Metro Prima
44, Vista Magna, Block C, Jalan Magna Prima, Metro Prima, 52100 Kuala Lumpur.
- Old Klang Road
12-0, Ground Floor, Jalan 2/137C, Off Jln Klang Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur.
G-17, Jalan Merbah 3, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
- Plaza Arkadia, Desa Parkcity
B-G-07, Plaza Arkadia, No.3, Jalan Intisari Perdana, Desa Parkcity, 52200 Kuala Lumpur
- Cheras Selatan
1-9, Jln C180/2, 43200 Cheras, Selangor.
42 Pelangi Avenue, Jalan Kelicap 42A/KU1, Off Jalan Meru, 41050 Klang, Selangor.
No.56, Lorong Batu Nilam 21A, Bandar Bukit Tinggi, 41200 Klang Selangor
For more information, do check out their website.