Jin Xuan Oolong (Taiwan Tea Cultivar No. 12), the most versatile of Thai-Oolongs

In principal, you can process any tea plant species’ leaves to a near-indefinite variety of teas: you can process them as a green tea, a black tea, or an Oolong tea... Still, with time a processing standard has evolved for most or all known tea plant varieties... However, for some tea plant varieties there isn’t just one standard, but several alternative ways to produce different teas of equal desirability have emerged instead... Our Taiwan Jin Xuan Oolong tea cultivar No. 12 is a perfect example for this... I have come to know it alternatively as an Oolong tea, as a black tea, and as a “winter tea”... Taste and aroma of the Jin Xuan Oolong tea... we have the grassy elements, reminiscences of green tea... we have the earthy base notes that are so typical for Oolong teas... we do have some sweetness, too... another description I have often used to describe Jin Xuan Oolong tea: a most “honest” one among those “fine” Oolong teas... 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

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

Tea Production in Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand: the picking and processing of our Oolong Nr.12 Jin Xuan

The following video shows "the becoming" of our Oolong No.12 Jin Xuan, together with the Oolong No.17 Ruan Zhi the major trademark of tea cultivation and production in Northern Thailand. Both hybrids originate from Taiwan's Lishan Highlands, from where they were brought to the mountains of North Thailand for cultivation in 1994. The effort has definitely been worth it, as our little film clearly demonstrates. Principally, three main categories of tea processing can be differentiated: the processing to • Green tea (not fermented) • Oolong tea (part-fermented) • Black tea (fully fermented) Two more (sub-) categories can be added to the above-mentioned classification • White tea (very light fermented) • Pu Errh tea (post-fermented) In the following description, we take orientation on the conditions at our producer partners in Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand. READ MORE...

Tea Cultivation in Northern Thailand – History and Development

While the world map of tea cultivation generally offers a rather stable appearance with little changes over the past centuries, a new spot had to be added to it just recently: Northern Thailand. Where opium fields dominated the mountainous terrain’s altitudes beyond 1000 m until about 20 years ago, making it an integral part of the infamous Golden Triangle, today a highly diversified variety of cash crops covers the slopes, among them fruit, nuts, vegetables , coffee, and, last but not least, tea. How Opium Fields turned Tea Gardens... Two factors played a key role in the initiation and development of the commercial cultivation and processing of high quality teas in Northern Thailand: 1. Thai Royal Projects 2. Ethnic Chinese Communities Especially Doi Mae Salong soon developed a broad spectrum portfolio of tea products, ranging from high quality Green Teas via Chinese and Taiwanese classic Oolong teas such as “4-Seasons Tea”, “Dong Ding Tea” and “Oriental Beauty” Tea and a range of scented or flavored teas, for which Jasmine Tea, Osmanthus Tea or Rice Tea, a particular Northern Thai/Shan areas specialty, might serve examples, to some herbal teas made from local herbs such as the Chinese “immortality herb” Jiaogulan and Safflower Tea. Just recently, Doi Mae Salong has even started producing a Black Tea that is often compared to a high quality Darjeeling by tea connoisseurs. READ MORE...

Doi Mae Salong – Center of Northern Thai Tea Cultivation

Venue Doi Mae Salong, Northern Thailand, in the heart of the Golden Triangle: it is 6 a.m., when Mrs. Sumalee lifts the roller shutters of her tea-shop, located at the main street of the town in the Northern Thai mountains that is populated exclusively by ethnic Chinese… Just little more than 20 years ago, the hills of Doi Mae Salong, whose slopes today show a picture of one tea garden besides the other, were still covered with opium fields. The inhabitants of the Chinese mountain enclaves in Northern Thailand, Doi Mae Salong and Doi Wawee, deprived of their main source of income made a virtue of necessity and bethought themselves of another, millennium-old Chinese tradition, the knowledge of the cultivation and processing of tea. READ MORE...

Teas from North Thailand: Products and Species

Green Teas, Oolong Teas, Black Tea and (naturally) scented teas from Northern Thailand... Oolong teas are partially fermented teas of the "Camellia Sinensis"... The degree of fermentation varies between 8% and 85%. The origin of Oolong teas is China... From there, the cultivation of oolong teas spread further across South Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Korea (Guangdong), and more recently Northern Thailand. The tea plants for cultivation in Thailand were originally imported from Taiwan’s Alishan region... Green teas are unfermented teas of the "Camellia Sinensis" species... Black tea is fully oxidized or fermented tea... 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... Jiaogulan - "Gynostemma pentaphyllum" - the Chinese "Immortality Herb", is an herbaceous climbing plant that has earned itself a worldwide reputation as traditional Chinese "miracle" herb...health benefits... Oolong N°12, Oolong N°17, 4-Season Oolong Tea, Beautiful Girl Oolong Tea, Dong Ding Oolong Tea, Green Tea, Black Tea, Osmanthus Tea, Ginseng Oolong Tea, Jasmine Tea, Rice Tea, Jiaogulan, Shan Tea... What we call Shan Tea is tea from a tea plant that has been native to the mountainous regions of Thailand and Burma for a long time.. grown by Shan farmers... READ MORE...

Thai Tea – Tea cultivation in Thailand

In the area today forming the border region Northern Thailand/Burma, tea was already harvested from wild growth at a very early stage...The Kuomintang Army...Doi Mae Salong, a small, picturesque town, situated at an altitude of 1800 m above sea level...part of the legendary Golden Triangle...Royal Thai Tea Project...Tea cultivation at Doi Mae Salong...the opium cultivation in the mountain enclave being completely replaced by one of the cultivation of tea...more than 200 tons of tea annually, and the quality particularly of the locally grown Oolong teas, but also the Green Teas, and more recently Black Teas, for which the plants were originally imported from Taiwan....Doi Mae Salong provides just perfect conditions for tea growing...also produces tea scented with jasmine flowers, the Chinese "immortality herb" Jiaogulan, as well as Ginseng Tea and other scented teas like Rice Tea or Osmanthus Green Tea...Other Tea Cultivation Areas in Northern Thailand, especially the regions Doi Tung and Doi Chang...Tea cultivation in the Shan areas...The Shan call their plants 'Ning Lung'...ideal conditions for a particularly fine tea...Many Shan are from childhood on familiar with the cultivation of tea trees...benefit the Shan refugees via a percentage levy on the realized proceeds from the sale of ShanTea amounting to 20% of total sales..READ MORE...

The History of Tea

Origin of tea culture, cultivation and use of the tea plant... Most sources date the discovery of tea as a beverage and as medicinal herb to about 2700 - 2800 BC... ... is taken from the tea bible "Cha Jing", written by the Chinese literate Lu Yu (733-804 AD). Accdording to the Cha Jing, tea first became known through the Chinese healer Shennung (2737 Chr BC)... Lu Yu in his writings advocated this traditional method of tea preparation and transcended the consumption of the tea beverage to a spiritual act... Not only the commercial marketing, but also the further development of different tea processing methods (e.g. Green Tea, Oolong Tea, Black Tea, scented or flavored teas), up to a certain point can be mainly attributed to the Chinese... Tea was first brought to Europe from China by a portugaise priest, Gasper da Cruz... ...tea then held its great march of triumph through all of Europe in the course of the 17. century... eversince, tea, as well as the culture and rites surrounding the comsumption of tea, have claimed a well-established position in European life... READ MORE...

Pang Kahm: Tea Village in No-Man’s-Land

Our trip to Pang Kham, Northern Thailand, near the Burmese border, is closely connected to our Project Shan Tea, where we buy greater amounts of a fine, traditional Pu Errh style tea as it has been grown for hundreds of years by Northern Thai and Shan people from small farmers along the Thai/Burma border, providing them with a sales market and a livelyhood... They grow a tea species that is local to the area, and produce a dark, delicious tea, with a high degree of fermentation... Amazingly, the first thing we see is a pile of tea spread for sundrying in the yard... In Shan language (again with our escort, who speaks an excellent English, translating), the tea farmer explains his processing method to us, which is for a large part similar to what we saw the Chinese doing in Doi Mae Salong. Just the “machines” used here appear to be a bit more old-fashioned... Only on second sight I realize that we are actually right in the middle of a tea plantation. All around us, there are tea trees seemingly randomly scattered, with coffee plants and other trees dispersed between them in irregular patterns...Our host tells us that his father, a tea farmer himself (who supposely lived to become 99 years old), passed the skills of tea cultivation on to him, when he was a kid joining his father growing tea in Shan State... What impresses me most is that the tea is grown here without any addition of fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides whatsoever, meaning this tea really is 100% organically grown... The tea trees, which are partially up to 2 m high, with trunks up to 15 cm thick, are regularly cut back to keep their leaves accessible for harvest and promote the formation of new tea leave sprouts. READ MORE...

Siam Tea Blog

The purpose of this blog is to introduce you to the world surrounding the cultivation of Tea in Thailand... the mountain community of Doi Mae Salong...this blog deals with the tea and general culture of the various mountain tribes and particularly with the ethnic Shan people...One of the Shan's centres of tea cultivation on the Thai side is the village of Pang Kham. More about the dark local tea grown there...The Project ShanTea is a concept for the provision of a sales market for small Shan tea farmers...20% of the sales price of Shan Tea, a dark, savory tea harvested and processed by the villagers of Pang Kham from up to several hundred years old tea trees...A general overview of the origins of tea cultivation in China... particularly Green Teas and Oolong Teas have been enjoying growing both national and international popularity... tea cultivation in Thailand...the tea plants grown here, which were mainly imported from Taiwan originally...For more than a decade now, an increasingly vivid tea culture and tea cultivation develops particularly in the region of Doi Mae Salong, coined by its Chinese population... teas from Thailand...a range of Thai Green Teas, Oolong Teas, and Black Teas, naturally scented Thai Teas such as Jasmin Flower Tea, Oolong Ginseng Tea, the Chinese “Immortality Herb” Jiaogulan, and, of course our product Shan Tea... Doi Tung Tea...Royal Thai Development Projects... Siam Tea Shop...Tea Music... Siam Tea Blog... newsletters...discounts. READ MORE...