Updated: Feb 26
I am so excited about this tea for various reasons. Firstly, it is the first non-Chinese white tea I have ever tested. Secondly, it came from a Thai farmer who is also the tea master I got in touch while I was in Thailand. Thirdly, the tea master crafts only 5 kg of white tea every year. I have other teas from the same tea master and I’ll write about them in the coming days too.
The tea comes from Mae Suai which is a small district in the Chiang Rai Province of Thailand which borders Myanmar and Laos. The farmer told me that he grows camelia sinensis assamica which has larger leaves than camellia sinensis var. sinensis. I was surprised when I first smelled his teas, they brought me back to the first time I inhaled dried leaves of Yunnan black and white teas. This totally makes sense as we are talking about similar climate and high altitude. This particular tea comes from the altitude of 1350 – 1500 meters. The below photo shows the village and the farmer overlooking its beautiful view.
The farmer warned me to use water around 70°C and as I am a stubborn Turk, I did not listen to him and the first infusion was a little astringent. I waited for the water to cool down for the consecutive infusions, and the result was much better. I could get mineral and slightly floral tastes. To my surprise, I did not get much sweetness.
The leaves were so uniform and almost 100% buds only and I could see the hair/fuzz on both dry and infused leaves which demonstrates top quality. It was a rare Bai Hao Yin Zhen made by someone I could communicate with and this made it extra special.
Enjoy your cuppa!
Origin: Chiang Rai, Thailand
Harvest time: Spring 2019
Leave colour: Silvery white buds occasional one bud one leave
Liquor colour: Light bright yellow
Tea aroma: Floral
Tea taste: Mineral and slightly floral
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 75°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 10 years or more if aged appropriately.