The penultimate tea of the 365 teas challenge. It is a roasted black tea from Laos. I have to say it is roasted because I’ve already reviewed this sun-dried black tea from Laos.
Today tea grows in a few Laos areas, and both wild tea trees and tea cultivars exist. The tea vendor told me that Laos banned the use of fertilizers and pesticides in tea production. So essentially, we are talking about all organic teas here. However, I am not sure how these laws are regulated. Nor I know if they have internationally accepted ‘organic’ certificate.
This tea comes from ancient tea trees which are above 200 years old. The variety of this tea is camellia sinensis var. assamica and both the plant and the processing techniques are similar to the pu-erh material in Yunnan.
I have been researching about Laotian tea without much success. Recently I found in an 1892 bulletin of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew which suggests that in Laos a type of Assam tea plant found (which they call Camellia theifera). Instead of making an infusion with the tea leaves, the locals prepared ‘mieng’ by steaming and burying the teas leaves in the ground for 15 days. Then day chew this product. It was most common among men who are engaged in hard work. This is actually very interesting. I would have loved to try this. I have never thought that tea leaves could be processed in such a way and consumed by chewing. I certainly learned something today.
This tea was not very sweet. Maltiness and some oaky notes were prevalent. And I thought that it was fruiter that its sun-dried version.
Source: Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), Vol. 1892, No.70 (1892), pp. 219-222
Origin: Xiangkhouang, Laos
Harvest time: Spring 2020
Leaf colour: Dark brown with some fuzzy golden tips
Liquor colour: Dark amber
Tea Aroma: Malt and oak
Tea taste: Full-bodied, fruity and malt
1. Place 4 g of this tea in a porcelain gaiwan or teapot and add about 100 ml water at around 90°C.
2. Rinse after 5 sec.
3. Steep for 10 seconds for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 10. You can re-steep this tea about five times.