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Spring 2019 Mae Hong Son Black

  • Old gardens of Sop Pong area, Mae Hong Son, Thailand
  • Picked from mid-March to mid-April 2019, first and second flush
  • Fully hand-processed in the Bai Cha Thai tea factory
  • Available in 7-8g dragon balls

Here are the first tea of the Bai Cha Thai project. In Spring 2018, Martin visited us in Jingmai to learn tea processing. He planned to open a small tea factory in Northern Thailand and source tea from previously unmanaged old tea gardens growing around several villages on the Thai-Myanmar border. In February 2019, Martin and his wife, Sulawan, had already built the factory, we had the pleasure to process the first batch and we sold it on Farmerleaf.

During the Spring 2019 season, Martin and his wife worked hard to source fresh leaves and process tea in different style. This is an exclusive range of teas from an area where tea hasn't been produced for decades.

The black tea was rolled by hand, which is highly unusual and time consuming. Typical black tea requires one hour of rolling, therefore a machine is used. But the Bai Cha Thai factory doesn't have one yet. Martin was determined and got a good result with a 20 minute roll by hand, which was enough to properly break the leaf cells and release the tea juices. Oxidation was done under the sun, it is on the heavy side, which brings a stronger, briskier profile than light oxidation. The tea was then sun-dried on the spot.

The fragrant nature of the varietal that grows in this area comes out very nicely with a black tea processing, it has a complex profile and a good endurance. The dragon balls require a long rinse time to open up properly, don't hesitate to give a one minute rinse, once the leaves have loosened, you will notice their shape is intact and they can be brewed like a loose leaf tea.

Only 4kg was made.