Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tea In Laos Part Four: Some Brief Tasting Notes on Phongsali Green Tea

After returning to one's room in Phongsali, one decided to wind down with some tea.

First one attempted to sample some of the 400 year old green tea from Korman Village. This tea was 'dead tea'. It lacked taste as it did smell and was probably inappropriately stored for months, if not years. It was almost tasteless but showed no signs of bitterness just mild, watery taste.

Out of all the tea one has ever consumed, this tea was perhaps the hardest to enjoy. Maybe because the empty profile of this tea could have been prevented if these leaves had been properly processed and stored. One parted with this large bag of tea leaving it with the staff of the guesthouse.

With the thoughts of the qi-less tea still fresh in ones mind, one decided to give the healthy robust looking leaves of the complimentary Phongsali tea that was in the room a go. They couldn't possibly be as bad as the tea one had just sampled minutes before.

So one unscrewed the warn, old plastic red lid of this overused, glass, cylindrical container and dropped a few health leaves into the festively patterned glass.

The dry leaves smelt of musty sweet floral. A promising sign.

Hot water from a beaten up, old aluminium thermos is poured into the glass, embracing the leaves of various colours of browns and greens still clinging to stems.

One waits a while then gently blows the floating unfurrowing leaves, making a path in which to sip the liquid from the glass.

The sweet result embraces the mouth leaving behind nearly no astringency but a pleasant musty, foggy, earthy-floral aftertaste. The taste isn't strong but carries a certain gentleness to it.
The flavour of this tea is true to its home. It tastes similar to the way the earthy-musty fog smelt in the village of Korman just hours ago. When one drinks this tea one is back there- high in the mountains in the foggy tribal village once again.


Pat Canella said...

Awesome installment on Phonsali Green Tea, wow 400 year old tea! Can't believe they kept it that long, incredible culture!

Matt said...


Sorry, one may have been a bit ambiguous. The age mentioned in this post is actually the age of the tea plant not the product produced from that tea.

The tea was probably a year or two old, that's all.