Here is the first batch to come out of the factory we helped establish in Northern Thailand. It is located in Pang Mapha area, at the Northernmost tip of Mae Hong Son Province, right at the border with Burma.
Leaves were collected in two villages: Mai Lai and Mai Hong, two villages with a few ancient tea gardens but no recent history of commercial tea making. While the farmers pick and do a basic processing for their own consumption, the tea is rarely traded outside the villages. Both villages are located at an altitude of about 1100m.
The newly established factory will be run by Sullawan and Martin, a Thai-German couple who are well acquainted to the area. They are in charge of collecting the fresh leaves and this process was not easy in February for three reasons:
1-Few tea trees were harvestable at this time because most of them are not pruned, the leaves are not sprouting or are unreachable.
2- The farmers were busy in the fields harvesting black beans. Since they do not typically cultivate the tea gardens, they use their time to other agricultural matters at this time.
3- A Buddhist festival was ongoing on the next day and many people were busy organizing it.
We brought back 2kg of maocha with us and make it available right off the wok.
We processed it Pu-erh style: withering, wok frying, hand rolling and sun-drying.
At the time of writing, the tea has a high pitched fragrance reminding of some lowly oxidized wulongs (baozhong, gao shan cha, tie guan yin...). A thin mouthfeel, the tea soup is light in the mouth. Some sweetness is present, not much Huigan but a comforting mild Qi and a clean aftertaste. Bitterness and astringency comes out after a few infusions, if you don't mind it, it is a fairly long brewing tea.
However, this tea will change along the weeks and months after its production, therefore you should take this description with a pinch of salt and try it by yourself.
You can learn more about the Bai Cha Tai project in this video.