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365 Challenge > Day 20 - Thai Hill Tribe Oolong Tea

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

This is the first non-Chinese tea I am writing about. There will be more as I am temporarily based in Bangkok and tried some fantastic oolongs but also white, green and black teas here.

In Thailand, there are three major tea growing areas; Mae Salong, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. It is not clear where this tea comes from as the packaging only mentions Northern Thailand and the Golden Triangle which is located at the Chiang Rai region where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet. This area by the Mekong River was once famous for opium production by independent hill tribes whose homes are scattered across the vast jungles.

The production of tea and especially in Thailand was influenced by two different interventions. The first was the Royal Thai projects to eradicate opium which were also supported by the United Nations. As part of these projects, tea cultivars were imported from Taiwan to Thailand which was a success as some Oolong teas from Thailand did win international awards subsequently (stay tuned for my review of the award-winning Oolong).

Secondly, Chinese refugees fled to Thailand in 1961 and settled in the mountainous territories of Northern Thailand. Since then they have been cultivating tea and changing the tea culture in Thailand and beyond.

Tea Profile:

Type: Oolong

Origin: Northern Thailand

Harvest time: 2019

Leave colour: Green

Liquor colour: Pale yellow

Tea aroma: Subtle floral fragrance

Tea taste: Slightly sweet with floral and vegetal notes

Steeping/brewing: You can use around 90°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.

Shelf life: Up to 1 year (the freshest the better)

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