Saturday, February 7, 2009

An Introduction To Tea In Laos

As one passed through long, black, jagged peeked mountains coming into Laos from North-Central Vietnam, one expected tea consumption to drop significantly. One had heard many go on and on about Laos deep rich coffee. Little did one know that the quiet communist nation of Laos has been producing tea for quite some time now. And what was even more surprising, that the tea, like the coffee, was good.

As one traveled throughout this beautiful country one found that Laos' tea culture goes back 400 years and that there are two distinct tea producing regions in Laos- one in the far North Province of Phongsali and the other in the far south province of Champasak. Each region has its own separate, and interesting tea history and produces very different types of tea. Over the next few posts one will devolve closer into each region and share a few of their hidden secrets.

Peace

6 comments:

Brett said...

very cool. I wonder if the teas in the north have anything in common with any teas from Yunnan?

Matt said...

Brett,

Cool indeed, and so was the weather a few kilometres above sea level in the Phongsali province!

As you suspected Brett, some of these teas do share some commonalities with the teas from Yunnan. Please stay tuned to find out how...

Sorry for the suspense, currently one is dealing with photography issues.

Peace

Tealover said...

Nice to see your comments on Lao tea! Going to Lao(fr.Chiangmai)mid-May to tea areas. Any names of tea people, companies, places to check out when I'm there? Were you able to get into ancient tea back-country in Bokeo Province? I hear it's restricted and Amer. not welcome.
Frank
(sixpersimmons@gmail.com)

Matt said...

Tealover,

Check out the comments of this posting: http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/tea-in-laos-part-six-tea-and-coffee.html

It divulges the contacts that one used in the north and south tea areas of Laos.

There is another in Paksong which one forgot at that time. He’s the director of Paksong Tea who can be reached at Sith_romg@hotmail.fr

One traveled in most of the provinces in Laos but never went to Bokeo Province. It’s supposed to be beautiful there.

If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Peace

Tealover said...

Thanks a cupfull, Matt. I plan to contact these Lao tea friends/ guides when I go to Lao later this month. Hope the weather holds out. I hear early rains. When do you believe "spring flush" occurs up north?

Frank

Matt said...

Tea Lover,

The guide said that the best tea is picked in June/July. When asked why this time is optimal he claimed that it is the best time due to the monsoonal rains.

One really didn't understand his answer.

Perhaps you could find out in person.

Have fun in Laos.

Peace