Siam Tea Blog

“Bai Yai” – The Old Tea Tree of North Thailand

The Camellia Sinensis Assamica tea species has been growing wild in the form of trees in most south east Asian countries for centuries... Though the production of green tea was the prevailing method in those times, the processing methods varied regarding drying and heating procedures, in particular the production of post-fermented tea produced in a way similar to Pu Errh tea can be tracked back for many decades... the new Chinese settlers, who had been playing a key role in the outlawed trade, started getting back to those old assamica tea trees and took up a more commercial production of green, and now also Oolong tea from the leaves of those old trees native to north Thailand. In and around the Chinese KMT settlements, such as Doi Mae Salong, they no longer collected the tea leaves only from the wild growing trees, but also started cultivating the plant in tea gardens... These teas, namely our ShanTea, our DMS Bai Yai leaves green tea, and our DMS Bai Yai leaves Oolong tea, are often referred to as “good everyday teas”... When people start describing the taste of these teas, they will often use attributes like “earthy”, or “grassy”, all centered around the element “earth... This, I think, the ability to create or reproduce a whole world just out of aroma and taste, is indeed one of the greatest virtues (say: qualities) a tea can possibly have to offer. READ MORE

Black Pearls/Rosella Hibiscus Tea Blend EXP No.1

... personally rather a fan of pure Camellia Sinensis tea and its numerous green, Oolong and black tea variations... belittle the thousands of existing „tea“ blends with their notedly imaginative names with an attitude that might be not too far away from arrogance... herbs native to Thailand, such as Jiaogulan, Safflower, Mulberry leaves, Roselle Hibiscus or Chrysanthemums all have their surely justified place in traditional Chinese medicine... engaged myself in the degustation of Roselle Hibiscus infusions, my first thought was “Summer Ice Tea”, and the second thought that came to me was “this would surely taste great mixed with black tea”... What is left of the Black Pearls is the wonderful „median”, sweet range of tastes that is typical with the enjoyment of this tea in its pure form... “Siam Summer Dream”... Roselle Hibiscus, reminiscent of dog rose and lemon... The resulting tea beverage is refreshing and invigorates the human senses, making it a perfect iced refreshment drink for hot summer days... or as a pleasant hot tea beverage at any time of the day... READ MORE

Si Ji Chun Four Seasons Oolong Tea – 4 Seasons like Spring

What is actually the story behind the “4 Seasons”? A question that inevitable arises in every tea lover’s mind when first encountering 4-Seasons Oolong Tea... The Four Seasons Oolong cultivar, a still relatively young tea variety, is one of the best-known and most popular results of the Taiwan Oolong Tea Research and Development... And this is how the 4-Seasons-Oolong got its name: Si Ji Chun in English translates to “four seasons like spring”, and means that Four Seasons Oolong tea can be harvested 4 times a year on a quality level equal to that of the spring season...Si Ji Chun 4-Seasons Oolong tea is an absolutely unique tea! There is simply not other Oolong tea, whose taste is even somewhat close to that of the Si Ji Chung Four Seasons Oolong in terms of taste, while the potential of 4-Seasons Oolong tea, with up to 10 infusions and more (using the Chinese Gong Fu Cha method) further contributes to establishing this tea among the Taiwan’s, and thereby Thailand’s top Oolong teas... In terms of taste, the Si Ji Chun Four Seasons Oolong, by standard processed to an only lightly fermented, rather still near green Oolong tea, shows an extremely variable bandwidth... However, our DMS Si Ji Chun 4-Seasons Oolong tea’s most astounding and somehow baffling characteristic is the taste and aroma potential it offers, and which often makes just one tea pot load to an evening-filling event... READ MORE

Taiwan Oolong Tea Development & Know-how Export to Thailand

Recognizing the potential of the local tea industry, the Taiwanese government in the beginning of the 20th century decided to purposefully promote the development of Oolong tea varieties, and in 1926 established the Tea Research Institute of Taiwan. The institute’s work in the 1970s culminated in the setup and operation of a range of experimental stations, so-called “Taiwan Tea Experiment Stations” (TTES), where a series of Oolong tea cultivars were developed in a targeted manner on the basis of the institute’s scientific research results... Now, what does all that have to to with us and our teas from North Thailand? Simply spoken, Thailand owes the rise of its tea industry and its arduously conquered entry on the world map of tea for a good part to the above described Taiwanese efforts of developing Oolong tea cultivars with defined characteristics and requirement profiles... This way, a number of cultivars one after the other finally made it to North Thailand, where they have been successfully cultivated, and where they meanwhile have developed their own northern Thai profile. Typical representatives of these cultivars in north Thailand are Jin Xuan Oolong No. 12, Ruan Zhi Oolong No. 17 and 4 Seasons Si Ji Chun Oolong tea. READ MORE

DMS Jin Xuan Black Pearls – how “black” is it, really?

Almost 2 years ago, in the beginning of 2011, when I first introduced the (just “invented”) black tea from North Thailand, the “tea world” initially responded with the same skepticism... In both professional and tea lover circles, a discussion has unfolded on whether our DMS Shi Er Black Pearls really are a black tea now, or even a red one, or rather a very highly fermented/oxidized Oolong tea instead... Black tea: Western term for “completely” (beyond 94%, as a rule) fermented / oxidized tea of the Camellia Sinensis species... Red tea: Traditional Chinese term for “completely” (beyond 85% or 90%) fermented tea of the Camellia Sinensis species, however only with respect to Chinese teas... Dark Oolong tea: not a term defined by “science”, however, it is a winged word in tea lover circles, mostly used to describe a tendentiously rather high fermented / oxidized Oolong tea... Our “Black Pearls”are produced on the basis of Jin Xuan Oolong No. 12 cultivar (Chin. “12″ = “shi er”)... My preparation recommendations for the DMS Shi Er Black Pearls are based on my experiences gathered in meanwhile many hundreds of infusions... READ MORE

Doi Tung 2: The Tea Gardens of Doi Tung – On the Tracks of the Royal Development Project

The actual roots of the tea cultivation in north Thailand are located on the Doi Tung mountain, more precisely in the middle of the 1990's in the local offshoot of the Thai Royal Development Projects... I was looking at an extended weekend, where I would be able to take the time for a journey to the Doi Tung, in order to follow the tracks of tea cultivation in north Thailand to their very beginnings... The Tourist Attractions of Doi Tung... The Royal Villa Doi Tung... Mae Fah Luang Flower Garden... Hall of Inspiration... Doi Tung Hilltribe Bazar... The teas gardens of Doi Tung... there are even virtually "forested" tea gardens, where the tea plants grow in the (half) shade of a treetop cover... They won't allow it to, it is these fresh tips they want to harvest, process and savor in particular. A proper hand picking of only and exclusively such tips yields the teas qualities that nowadays, given the flood of machine-harvested mass teas, are often referred to as "boutique tea"... READ MORE

Profiles in Tea: Thomas Kasper (the SiamTeas story)

Profiles in Tea: Thomas Kasper (and the Story of SiamTeas) Rather known as somebody, who talks a lot whenever asked, and even sometimes, when not asked at all, it is a great experience, if somebody comes along and cuts your stuff down to what you really had to say (correcting and bettering my somewhat humble English in the process, too). Janis Badarau, a tea-dedicated author and columnist, only recently did just that in the English Tea Store Blog, this providing an excellent summary not only of the becoming of SiamTeas, but also of the backgrounds of tea cultivation in north Thailand: "This is the story of how a German translator and former beer drinker came to know and love tea … and became the owner of Siam Tee, specializing in the teas of northern Thailand... " READ MORE

Doi Tung Tea, Pt. 1: How Poppy Fields Turned Tea Gardens – The Royal Development Projects

At time of King Bhumbol Adulyadej's (also Rama IX.) accession to the throne on June 9, 1946, large parts of North Thailand and North East Thailand were widely isolated from Bangkok at the surrounding Central Thailand through geographic, infrastructural and cultural barriers... At the beginning of the 1950's, king Bhumibol started an intensive program, in whose context he traveled the country tirelessly for decades to its remotest corners to assess the situation and problems of the people on site by himself, consider possible options for remedy and improvement, and then initiate and accompany the identified measures... the Royal Development Projects... Until well into the 1960s, the cultivation of the opium poppy the use of the derived opium for medical purposes as well as a everyday means of leisure and recreation, were more or less an integral part of the daily life of many of the Northern Thai mountain people... The Golden Triangle... The Doi Tung development project maintains divisions in the fields of food, forestry, gardening and landscaping, tourism and artisan craftwork... Up to the Royal Development Project's initiative, tea was a common beverage in North Thailand only with the Shan and some of the hill tribes originating from China. They harvested tea leaves from wild growing tea trees... the cultivation of tea plants imported from Taiwan spread very quick in and around the above mentioned Chinese settlements, with the former opium stronghold Doi Mae Salong as the new tea capital of the north... Meanwhile, North Thailand has earned itself a name especially for its fine Oolong teas, but also green teas, and most recently, a rich and mild black tea from North Thailand have conquered many tea lovers' hearts worldwide and established their place of origin on the world map of tea. READ MORE