Green Teas, Oolong Teas, Black Tea, Scented Teas and Herbal Teas from Northern Thailand
Oolong teas are partially fermented teas of the “Camellia Sinensis” species, withered in the sun, partially fermented, and either in form of leaves or curled / rolled into small balls. The degree of fermentation varies between 8% and 85%. Oolong teas are characterized by a large aromatic variety, ranging from a sweet and fruity honey aroma to a green / fresh bouquet flavor, depending on the species, cultivation and processing method. The origin of Oolong teas is China (here: Fujian province, Wuji Mountains). From there, the cultivation of oolong teas spread further across South Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Korea (Guangdong), and more recently Northern Thailand. The name Oolong originates in Chinese language: “O-Liong”, or “Qingcha”. Oolong tea is particularly popular because of its low caffeine content and its health benefits: Control of obesity, cholesterol-lowering effects, strengthens skin and bone structure and teeth, antioxidant properties (eliminates free radicals, cancer prevention), effective in the treatment of chronic diseases such as heart, skin and inflammatory disorders and diabetes. The tea plants for cultivation in Thailand were originally imported from Taiwan’s Alishan region, world-wide famous for its Formosa Oolong and Green Teas.
Formosa Oolong Teas
Formosa Oolong tea is actually the name for oolong tea from Taiwan. The Portuguese colonialists gave Taiwan the name “Ilha Formosa” (“Beautiful Island”). The plants originally originate from the following years, and with the active promotional support of Queen Elizabet China’s Wuji Mountain region and were imported to Taiwan in the 1950s. Duringh II, Formosa Oolong tea such as the regional species Formosa Dong Ding Oolong and Formosa Oolong “Oriental Beauty” achieved worldwide recognition.In the 1970s, a range of experimental stations were set up for the development of distinctive Oolong tea hybrids. Oolong teas such as the No.12 (Jin Xuan Oolong) and the No.17 (Bailu Oolong) have since conquered the hearts of tea lovers worldwide.
After the rigorous crackdown of the Thai government and military on the opium cultivation and trade in the Thai sector of the the infamous Golden Triangle in the course of the 1980′s, the ethnic Yunnanese population of mountain enclaves in Thailand’s border region with Burma started experimenting with local tea species that were local to the area for hundreds of years or more. Despite quite respectable results with local Green and Oolong tea, these initially didn’t manage to establish amongst popular world class teas, and moreover offered little potential for a diversification of the local tea portfolio.
Hence, from 1994, these producers started importing some fine and popular tea plant species from Taiwan. Initially, hybrids such as the Oolong No. 17, the Oolong No. 12, and the Four Seasons Oolong from Taiwans Alishan-Gebirge were moved and grown in regions like Doi Mae Salong or Doi Wawee. To these added shortly after the millenium change a typical tea from the Taiwanese Dong Ding region and an Oriental Beauty Oolong tea.
More detailed and vividly illustrated information about history and development of the tea cultivation in Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand, can be found in my articles
Today, particularly Oolong Teas from North Thailand enjoy the reputation of belonging to the best in the world, and since 2011, an exceptional and overly delicious Black Tea based on the No.12 plant has set out to conquer the hearts of the international tea lover community.
The imported tea plants find in the region around Doi Mase Salong, at altitudes between 1200 and 1800 meters and a 3-seasonal change between a rainy, a hot and dry, and a cool season in a 4-month cadence, optimal climate and geologic conditions, which are very similar to those in their region of origin.
In the nomenclature of these teas, DMS means the cultivation region Doi Mae Salong. Apart from this, the names contain hints at the original species as well as at the charcateristic features of each tea. In the following, I will introduce the typical representatives of the nowadays quite diversified cultivation area Doi Mae Salong in detail. The preparation recommendations provided therein are adjusted to Western standards. However, tea masters practicing the Gong Fu Cha (tea ceremony), the ritual, classic-traditional Chinese way of tea preparation, where very short infusion periods are used in order to exhibit every nuance of a tea’s aroma and taste, will infuse these Oolong teas up to seven times or more, depending on the respective type.
DMS Bai Yai Oolong Tea
Loose leaves Oolong tea, harvested and produced from the camellia sinensis assamicatea species local to North Thailand. In the mountain region of Doi Mae Salong, where this tea, in north Thailand also growing wild in the form of trees, is cultivated by the local Yunnan-origin population in tea gardens, the plant finds optimal conditions at heights between 1200 and 1600 meters and a climate characterized by a 3 seasons, a rainy period, a hot and dry period and a cold period, each of them lasting about 4 months a year. A daily standard in many Northern Thai mountain households, and a budget alternative for every demanding Western tea drinker.
The large-leaved tea, grown at altitudes between 1000 and 1400 meters and with a seasonal change between a rainy season, a hot and dry and a cold period in a 4-months cadence, unites a full and round, bold-flavored aroma, already revealing in both the dry leave’s and the infusion’s scent, with the bloomy and earthy note characteristic for Northern Thai Oolong teas. The liquor shows a clear golden brown color.
In the nomenclature of this tea, DMS means the cultivation region Doi Mae Salong, while Bai Yai (Thai = “large leaf”) is the designation that has established among local tea producers for the assamica tea tree.
DMS Oolong Nr. 17 Ruan Zhi Jade Pearls
A queen amongst the Oolong teas of Northern Thailand, the No.17 hybrid genuinely originates from the Taiwanese Alishan Highlands, from where the tea plant was imported to North Thailand in 1994.
In the nomenclature of this Oolong tea, No.17 stands for the tea plant hybrid also called Ruan Zhi, Jade for the color of the liquor of this lightly fermented tea and its precious character, and Pearls for the rolled form, in which this tea is usually made available. The beautiful, carefully handpicked, rolled leaf will, infused in hot water, open to its full size within half a minute and give a clear jade-green to bright yellow cup, mild, yet rich in aroma, with a velvet-fruity touch of sweetness and a charming flowery note.
DMS Oolong No.17 Ruan Zhiu Jade Pearls unfold the depht and diversity of their rich spectrum of fine, subtle taste nuances best at a water temperature around 80°C and a recommended infusion period of about 3 minutes, though this tea will hardly develop any unpleasant bitterness even with somewhat longer infusion periods. The tea maintains its taste for well 3-4 infusions, each of which will exhibit its very own character.
The Ruan Zhi Oolong No. 17 variety, along with the Jin Xuan Nr. 12 cultivar, dominates the tea cultivation in Thailand. The centers of cultivation are the region around Doi Mae Salong, a town established by Chinese settlers (KMT) in the 1950s, the Doi Tung, where tea is cultivated guided by the principles of organic cultivation under the umbrella and initiative of the Royal Development Project, and another Chinese settlement in the northern Thai mountains, Doi Wawee.
DMS Oolong No. 12 Jin Xuan Blue Pearls
Following our metaphor of calling No. 17 the Queen of the Northern Thai Oolong teas, the Oolong No. 12 might just as well deserve the throne of the king.
In fact, we can attribute some features, such as muscle power and straightforwardness, to the Oolong No. 12 that would usually rather be considered as male characteristics. The pleasant grassy-herbal aromatic scent of this Oolong tea with a medium degree of fermentation initially only hints at the sated, expressive, dry and earthy taste. A decent creamy-nutty note, gaining moment with longer infusion periods, additionally imparts the depth that is characteristic for Oolong teas. The beautiful, carefully handpicked, rolled leaf, which will open up to its full size after half a minute in the hot water, gives a clear, bright yellow color in the infusion, spontaneously arousing the association of gold and sunlight with the observer.
In the nomenclature of this tea No. 12 is the genuine hybrid designation also named Jin Xuan, Blue means ‘Blue Tea’ (Oolong tea) and Pearls means the rolled form the Oolong No.12 leaves are traded in.
DMS Oolong Nr. 12 Jin Xuan Blue Pearls unfold their bold, rich aroma best at an infusion temperature of 80°C and an infusion period of about 3 minutes, and maintain it for well 3-4 infusions.
DMS Si Ji Chun Four Seasons Oolong
Harvested from a special, relatively “modern” tea plant species that was developed in the 1980 in Taiwan’s Alishan mountain region and imported in North Thailand first in 1994, the Four Seasons hybrid is particularly characterized by two features: 1. The Four Seasons plant owes its name to the fact that produces virtually four “spring” harvests in a year, where other tea plants after the spring harvest, which is usually considered as the year’s best harvest, will show a gradual decline in quality. 2. The Four-Seasons plant is relatively altitude-indifferent, i.e. other than most tea plant species it produces the same high quality tea leaves in lower altitudes as it does in higher ones.
In the nomenclature of this tea, Si Ji Chun are the Chinese words for Four Seasons. Tastewise, this only very lightly fermented tea with a fermentation degree of 10% or below offers the best of two worlds: the fresh and tart taste of a beautiful Green Tea combined with typical earthy and nutty Oolong note. Intensive, rich scent in the first infusion, already telling quite a good bit of the taste experience to expect.
DMS Si Ji Chun Four Seasons Oolong Tea, a relatively low-cost alternativ in the top quality segment for tea lovers with highest demands, shows a wonderful light green and yellow color in the infusion. It should be infused at a water temperature of no more than 75°C, since it will release its bitters rather quickly with higher infusion temperatures. We recommend an infusion period of 2-3 minutes and at least 4 infusions to get to enjoy the full benefits of this tea.
DMS Dong Ding Blue Pearls
Though Dong Ding tea in the old times used to be identified with a particular Oolong tea cultivar that had once been brought from China to Taiwan’s Dong Ding mountain region, quite a number of different Oolong tea varieties are cultivated there today and mostly processed to Oolong teas of lower to medium degree of oxidation/fermentation. Meanwhile, it has become common pratice in Taiwan to call of these teas “Dong Ding Tea”, unless they are considered as Highland Oolong teas or Oriental Beauty Oolong teas. Likewise, also our Dong Ding Blue Pearls is actually based on the No. 17 cultivar, however, it undergoes a processing that deviates from that of our Ruan Zhi Oolong No. 17 and is rather characteristic for the Dong Ding region. Hence, the term “Dong Ding” here only refers to the corresponding method of processing.
Apart from a slightly higher degree of oxidation/fermentation, the parallels of our DMS Dong Ding Blue Pearls to our Ruan Zhi No. 17 are quite obvious and clearly reveal in a taste comparison. Still, DMS Dong Ding Blue Pearls maintains a very individual character of its own: the mild sweetness of this somewhat less than medium fermented tea spontaneously evokes strong associations with milk sugar indeed, along with a touch of honey, while the tea’s scent only slightly hints at that sweetness. Other than with flavored ‘milky’ Oolongs, the milky aroma here is rather subtle and unobtrusive, and faints with declining freshness of the tea as well as beyond the second infusion. The tea’s honey sweetness, on the other hand, develops over an extended series of infusions and in a very intriguing way. Both taste components have a lingering resonance on the human palate. The pleasantly mild taste, rounded off by a light floral hint, guarantees for a perfect tea experience and makes this tea one of our most popular Oolong teas.
In the nomenclature of this tea, DMS means the cultivation region Doi Mae Salong, Dong Ding hints at the processing method, Blue stands for Oolong tea, and Pearls is due to the rolled form given to the tea leaves in the processing. The beautiful, carefully handpicked, rolled leaf that opens up fully within half a minute in the hot water, gives a clear caramel and golden yellow color in the infusion.
DMS Dong Ding Blue Pearls achieve the best taste results with 3-5 grams of tea pearls on 300ml water at a temperature of 80-85°C, and an infusion period of 1 – 3 minutes. A second infusion shows no, a third one only little aromatic loss. However, tea masters, who in the context of a Gong Fu Cha (tea ceremony), the classic ritual Chinese way of tea preparation operate with very short infusion periods in order to expose every single aromatic nuance of a tea, will infuse this tea quite a few times more.
DMS Cha Nang Ngam Cing Xin Beauty Oolong
also: Bai Hao Oolong, Oriental Beauty, (White) Silver Needle
This special tea, also referred to as the “champaign” amongst the Oolong teas, is only harvested once a year (here: in April). The top leave (the “tip”) is then covered with tiny white hair, which has gotten the tea the designation “Silver Needle” or “White Silver Needle”. The cultivar was brought from Taiwan to north Thailand only about the middle of the 1990s. Besides the mentioned “silver tip”, another specific factor is responsible for the special taste of the Cha Nang Ngam Cing Xin Beauty Oolong tea, which is also characteristic for Taiwanese Oriental Beauty (Dong Fang Mei Ren): the leaves are bitten by a leafhopper species, whose proboscis leaves behind a secretion in the tea leaf, which mixes and reacts with the tea leafe juice remaining there. The insect’s interaction produces a small brown stain on the tea leaf. However, other than the most Taiwanese Bai Hao / Oriental Beauty teas, our Cha Nang Ngam Cing Xin Beauty Oolong in north Thailand is processed with a rather light degree of fermentation, thus still fitting the “Pouchong” Oolong tea category.
In the nomenclature, DMS means the cultivation region Doi Mae Salong, ‘Cha Nang Ngam’ is Thai language for ‘beautiful female’, whith ‘beautiful’ in terms of diligent, demure, gracious, Cing Xin is the Chinese name of this old Taiwanese Oolong tea cultivar, while ‘Beauty’ is a shortening of the later common designation Oriental Beauty.
Our north Thailand version of Bai Hao / Oriental Beauty / Cing Xin Oolong Tea, enjoying a precious reputation in the tea cultures of both China and Taiwan,is vibrantly bright to sated yellow in the cup and reveals a pronounced floral note, though virtually without any of the bitter component that is often typical for such floral aromas. While the scent fo the dry tea leave only slightly hints at the tea’s taste, the infusion’s fragrance already promises a lot of the then unfolding diversity of a spring meadow.
Green teas are unfermented teas of the “Camellia Sinensis” species. A brief heating, roasting or steaming after the withering of the freshly picked leaves, prevents the fermentation process. This way, almost all active substances contained in the fresh leave remain preserved. The leaves are then traded and consumed either as loose leaves or curled / rolled into little granules. The plant has flat green leaves of jade-green color and aromatic fragrance, the tea is clear and bright green in the infusion.
The stimulating effect of green tea is to attribute mainly to its caffeine content. The regular consumption of green tea can help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease, reduces the risk of caries calms the stomach and intestine. The health benefits of green tea are due to its high content of catechins, amino acids (especially theanine), the vitamins A, B and B2, and the trace elements calcium, potassium, phosphoric acid, magnesium, copper, zinc, nickel, carotene, and fluorine. The tradition of Green Tea originates from China. Like the Oolong tea, Green tea from there spread to other South Asian countries, especially Japan, Taiwan, Korea (Guangdong), and more recently Thailand. North Thailand produces green teas both from tea species local to the area since hundreds of years or more and from tea plants imported in the nineties for cultivation in North Thailand from Taiwan, which is famous for its Formosa Oolong and green teas.
DMS Bai Yai Green Tea
Loose green leaves tea from the camellia sinensis assamicatea species local to North Thailand. In the mountain region of Doi Mae Salong, where this tea, in north Thailand also growing wild in the form of trees, is cultivated by the local Yunnan-origin population in tea gardens, the plant finds optimal conditions at heights between 1200 and 1600 meters and a climate characterized by a 3 seasons, a rainy period, a hot and dry period and a cold period, each of them lasting about 4 months a year.
In the nomenclature of this tea DMS means the region of cultivation, Doi Mae Salong, while Bai Yai (Thai = “large leaf”) is the designation that has established among local tea producers for the assamica tea tree.
In the processing, to obtain Green Tea, unlike the partly fermented Oolong Teas or in case of the completely fermented Black Tea, the fermentation process of the tea leaves is stopped through heating right after a brief withering period. Apart from the characteristic taste and aroma of Green Teas, this procedure ensures that nearly all active substances contained in the fresh tea leave remain preserved.
Doi Mae Salong Cing Xin Green Pearls
Cultivated and processed in Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand, from tea plants of the Cing Xin tea cultivar, which were imported from Taiwan during the 1990s for cultivation in the highlands of Northern Thailand, where they find optimal geological and climate conditions that are similar to their home region, at altitudes between 1200 and 1600 meters and a seasonal change between a rainy, a hot, and a cold period in a 4-month rhythm.
While the April harvest of the cultivar, due to the white hair on its tip (youngest top leave of a branch) also referred to as “Bai Hao” or “Silver Needle”, is reserved for the production of our DMS Cha Nang Ngam Beauty Oolong Pearls.
In the nomenclature of this tea, Doi Mae Salong stands for the cultivation region, Cing Xin for the Taiwanese tea plant cultivar this tea is yielded from, Green for Green Tea, and Pearls for the rolled form of this tea.
The carefully handpicked, rolled leaf opens up to its full size within half a minute in hot water and gives a clear, radiant bright yellow-green cup. The tea liquor bitters only slightly with appropriately tempered water (see below).
With green tea, other than with partly fermented and/or fully fermented black tea, the fermentation process is stopped through heating of the tea leaves right after a short period of withering. Apart from the charcteristical taste of green tea, this method ensures that nearly all active substances contained in the fresh tea leave are preserved.
DMS Cing Xin Green Pearls green tea combines the classical taste of traditional Chinese Green Tea in its purest form with the known health benefits of the same: high blood pressure, cholesterine and blood sugar regulation.
The best taste results are achieved with 3-5 grams of Doi Mae Salong Green Pearls, rolled, on 300ml of 75°C – 80°C hot water, and left to infuse for 2 – 4 minutes. The tea maintains its taste and aroma (in altering nuances) for about 3-4 infusions, depending on the duration of the individual infusion periods.
Though North Thailand as a tea cultivation region initially became popular for its Oolong teas, growers in 2011 for the first time produced black tea on the basis of the Jin Xuan No.12 tea plant that already in its first year conquered the hearts of every tea lover, who had a chance trying this highly aromatic Northern Thai tea novelty (quite some, actually, thanks to Siam Tea Shop).
Doi Mae Salong Jin Xuan Black Pearls
In the nomenclature of this tea, DMS means the cultivation region, Doi Mae Salong, Jin Xuan is the Taiwanese name of the underlying tea cultivar, Black stands for Black Tea, and Pearls for the rolled form of this variant.
from North Thailand
The result is teas that bear the distinctive smell and taste of their aroma donor, enjoying especially popularity with tea newcomers. Northern Thailand produces a range of naturally scented Oolong and Green teas, to which natural aroma donors such as jasmine, Thai jasmine rice, ginseng or osmanthus flowers are added by means of highly specific, complex and sensitive procedures respectively.
DMS Santikhiri Xianpian Jasmine Tea
Based on local green leaves tea, scented and flavored by adding freshly plucked jasmine flowers in the processing according the traditional Chinese method. This procedure must be done at early nightfall, when the jasmine flowers open up their aroma pores and release their scent and aroma best to be absorbed by the green tea leaves.
In the nomenclature, DMS means the cultivation area Doi Mae Salong, Santhikhiri indicates the local character of the tea species, and Xianpian is the Chinese name for jasmine.
This tea unites the sweetness and bloomy notes of the jasmine flower in perfection with the leaves green tea aroma. It should be infused with 70-75°C hot water for around 3 minutes. The tea will give 2 – 3 infusions, with the jasmine flower aroma gradually vanishing after the first infusion.
DMS Cha Khao Hoom Rice Tea
This Northern Thai specialty, produced on tha basis of a green tea harvested from a tea plant species that has been local to the area for centuries, and flavored with Thai jasmine rice and a special local wild growth herb, giving the tea an intensive rice aroma, is unique to this region indeed. Expressively, this is not a genmaicha, as some might expect, and nothing similar to that either.
DMS Gui Hua Osmanthus Green Pearls
High grade handpicked green tea, harvested from a fine tea species imported from Taiwan’s Alishan mountain region in the midst 1990s, refined in heated condition with freshly plucked Osmanthus flowers. The natural aroma donor, after releasing its decent fragrance and taste notes, is carefully removed again from the traditionally handpicked tea leaves.
Jiaogulan – “Gynostemma pentaphyllum”
The Chinese “Immortality Herb”
Gynostemma pentaphyllum, also called Jiaogulan, is an herbaceous climbing plant that has earned itself a worldwide reputation as traditional Chinese “miracle” herb. In China, as well as in Thailand, the leaves are not only drunk as a tea, but also consumed as a food like spinach or lettuce. The inhabitants of the Chinese province of Guizhou, who drink the tea on a daily basis, have given the plant the name “immortality herb”. They suggest that their province allegedly has a higher than average life expectancy. The adaptogenic and antioxidant properties of Jiaogulan have earned the herb the designation “Southern Ginseng”, although the two plants are actually not closely related. Proven health benefits include regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels and an increase of stamina and concentration capabilities.
In fact, has been found recently that the Jiaogulan plant grows well in European gardens, too, but with modified flavor and active properties (generally reduced), and that the imported plants lose their taste and health-benefiting properties already in the second generation.
In China, the first literary documentation of the medical use of the Jiaogulan herb dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Already in the 15th Century, it is described in Chinese sources as a “survival food”. The name “Immortality Herb” was given to the herb in the Chinese province of Guizhou, whose inhabitants have been consuming the leaves regularly since long and who are said to as a consequence show a higher than average life expectancy.
In Thailand, where the herb also grows naturally and is collected by the hill tribes living in the north of the country, Jiaogulan has been purposefully cultivated since the 1990s unter the umbrella intitiative of the Thai Royal Development Project, guided by the prinicipals of organic cultivation.
The scientific interest and research in Jiaogulan began in the 1970s in Japan and continues today, with more than amazing results. The following health benefits of Jiaogulan have so far been documented:
1. Control of cholesterol levels, altogether as well as in regard to the ratio between “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
2. Blood Pressure Control: Although it is not known exactly why this is so, Jiaogulan acts to regulate blood pressure, and, astonishingly, in a way that it increases a too low blood pressure, while having a lowering effect on high blood pressure.
3. Digestion: Jiaogulan does not only stimulate the digestion, but also actively supports the body in the utilization of nutrients, thus contributing to a reduced formation of deposits.
4. Strength and endurance: Jiaogulan has been shown to not only have a positive effect on physical strength and endurance of man, but also to increase focusing capacity and mental stamina.
5. Immune system: Jiaogulan stimulates the formation of lymphocytes, phagocytes and serum IGG in the human immune system and this way reinforces the latter in his defensive function against all types of pathogens.
6. Adaptogenic properties: Jiaogulan has a biphasic effect on brain functions, causing an energizing or calming of the system as required. Similarly, Jiaogulan has also a balancing effect on hormonal processes.
7. Antioxidant properties: There is now a broad basis of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of Jiaogulan against the formation of free radicals and thus its preventive properties against cancer.
8. Even a “wash out” effect in terms of weight loss and a detoxifying effect in the same context is mentioned in a variety of sources.
The above list is indeed impressive. Of course, it cannot be rightly claimed that Jiaogulan will cure cancer or even AIDS, but it has been shown to impede the formation of cancer cells and also evidently stimulates the human immune response.
Then there are the great taste properties of Jiaogulan tea. Relevant Internet sources contain extensive praise of “sweetness” of the Jiaogulan herb, and there are people, for which Jiaogulan is the ne plus ultra of positive taste experience.
For sources substantiating and even extend the above stated list of health properties of the Jiaogulan herb, I could attach an endless list of URLs here, but instead I recommend to simply google “Jiaogulan”. This way, you will find such an abandon wealth of publications on Jiaogulan, descriptions, praise, scientific and semi-scientific articles, Wikipedia articles, etc. The remarkable thing is that you will find no negative publications about Jiaogulan! Just give it a try! Simply google: Jiaogulan.
Safflower / Fake Saffron
Safflower, also called false saffron, is a plant belonging to the Aster family. Its natural area of occurrence extends across the countries of Asia and Europe, as well as North America and Australia. Safflower is a fast growing, thistle-like, year-long herbaceous plant that grows to a height of between 60cm and 1.30m.
In Egypt, safflower (English: Safflower) was already used to dye fabrics around 3500 BC. The oil gained from the seeds was used in the antiquity for the manufacturing of ointments. In the 13th century, the Romans brought the safflower to Central Europe, where the flowers were used for coloring foods, but also for medicinal purposes. About the beginning of the 20th century, the plant was almost completely replaced as a dye color donor by synthetic agents. Since the end of the 20th Century, the oil obtained from safflower enjoys increasing popularity as a cooking oil, due to its high content of polyunsaturated linoleic acid and vitamin E.
Modern non-medicinal use:
- The petals are, due to their colors (the red coloring agent carthamin and the yellow coloring agent Carthamidin) are often referred to as “saffron-substitute”. While the visual effect can hardly be distinguished from that of genuine saffron, the safflower, in contrast to the aromatic saffron, as a food additive is nearly tasteless.
- The plant is used as an ornamental garden plant and as cut or dried flower.
- The flower-leaves yield a very tasty tea with a fruity-sweet flavor.
Medical use of safflower tea:
- Safflower is well known in the Asian, especially the Chinese traditional medicine, where the petals are infused as a tea. Clinical studies have shown effects on leukemia, hepatitis and migraines, besides other conditions.
- The safflower flowers have a stimulating effect on the heart and circulation. They also possess antipyretic and analgesic features, and they are said to have aphrodisiac properties. In Thailand, in this context, a tea called “Love Potion No. 1″ is offered, whose main component are the flowers of the safflower.
- In European folk medicine, safflower flowers are known as a treatment of menstrual and climacteric conditions, indigestion, jaundice and measles, wounds, inflammation and joint pain.
- Although safflower tea is generally regarded as a “soft medicine” without undesirable side effects, and for example administered in Russia to babies for flatulence, the consumption is not recommended during pregnancy.
Green Mulberry Leaves Tea
(Cha Raksa Thai)
Since ancient times, Mulberry leaves have been playing an essential role in the silk production, since they serve the silk worm moth as a preferred nutrition. In this context, the Mulberry tree was also brought to Europe in the 19th century and made native in many European countries.
In Thailand and China, the leaves of the Mulberry tree look back on a long traditon of being used as a dietary supplement and medicinal herb. This is due to to their high content of specific minerals (e.g. calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc..), vitamins (e.g. A, B1, B2, C) and tradce elements. Alleged health benefits include blood pressure control, Cholesterine level control, blood sugar control, and thereby preventive features in regard to heart heart attacks.
For us, however, as non-medical professionals and tea lovers, Mulberry leaves tea is first of all a delicious herbal infusion beverage that can be enjoyed either hot or cold as a refreshing ice tea. 100% green Mulberry leaves tea has a pleasantly decent taste, with a dominant grassy-veggie note, complemented by a subtle nutty aroma. Mulberry leaves tea has no caffeine and is therefore also perfectly suitable as an evening tea.
General: Pu’er, Pu’erh or Puer tea, is a tea resulting from a post-fermentation process, obtained through a processing method developed during China’s imperial age in the province of Yunnan. Today, Pu’er tea is also manufactured in other tea producing Asian countries, such as since recently in Northern Thailand. Post-fermentation in this case means a processing, at which the tea leaves, after being dried and rolled to streaks, undergo a microbiotic fermentation process. Because of the dark, reddish color of the leaves as well as the readily brewed tea drink, Pu’er tea is often referred to as “dark tea.”
Pu’erh is available in form of loose tea leaves or in compressed form (for example: bricks). Principally , two different kinds of Pu’er tea can be distincted: “raw” Pu’er Tea (sheng) and “ripened” Pu’er tea.
Processing: The base material of all Pu’er tea variations is the so-called Maocha, a non-oxidized green tea that is obtained form a large-leaved Camellia Sinsensis species as can be found in southern Yunnan, Burma and northern Thailand. The “raw” (sheng) type of Maocha goes through a natural fermentation process due to environmental influences, while for the “ripened” (shou) type this process is accelerated by means of a specific processing method that was only introduced in the early 1970s.
- Maocha: The freshly picked tea leaves are first spread out to wither and dry in the sun. Then they roasted, traditionally in are in a large Chinese wok in order to stop the enzymatic fermentation process. The roasted tea leaves are finally rolled into streaks, which are once again dried in the sun.
- Raw Pu’er Tea: The Maocha is subjected to a secondary oxidation and fermentation process, which may require several years, until the desired result is achieved.
- Ripened Pu’er tea: The fermentation process is accelerated by storing the tea leaves under controlled warm/humid conditions, while under constant re-piling, turning around and moistening, thereby promoting the formation and activity of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi), pretty much the same way as with the composting of biodegradable materials. This process usually takes between 6 months and one year.
- Pressing: The dried Maocha is portioned and the weighed portions lightly steamed in order to achieve a more cohesive consistency. In the old times, the resulting units were then pressed with a hand press, in ancient times a stone press, until the lever press prevailed soon after being introduced, and now increasingly with hydraulic presses, in various forms such as cakes or bricks, as is the case with our Pu ‘Er Tea from Doi Wawee. Often when pressing a motive is coined in, which can include the manufacturer’s logo and / or the date of pressing or the ripening period.
Doi Wawee, northern Thailand, produced, as well as for producers in Yunnan is now typical, both forms of Pu’er teas, raw and mature Pu’er, the raw Pu’er is subjected to a natural maturation process manufacturer of 5 years .
Post-fermented (Pu Errh style), charcoal fire-roasted tea from the large-leaved camellia sinensis assamica tea species that is local to the border area North Thailand/Burma and has been growing wild there in form of trees for hundreds of years. The tea looks back on a long tradition of use amongst the native hill tribes, Shan and North Thais.