Monday, April 20, 2009

Enjoying the Mundane: 2008 Tam Chan Southern Vietnamese Oolong

One picked this one up in Hoi An. The company’s broken-English website lets us know that this oolong was produced using organic methods on a 400 hecter patch of land in the Southern Lam Dong Province at an altitude of 800-1600 meters above sea level. Let’s check out this tea

The dry leaves are a mix of light medium and medium green tightly rolled pellets most of which contain a yellowish stem wrapped tightly into the pellet. These leaves smell very green with a quiet, fresh hay over flowers-in-a-greenhouse smell.

One prepares these leaves in a Kim Jeong Pill buncheong set using near boiling water. As leaves and thoughts unravel, this tea presents a nicely milky green flavour, slippery smooth in the mouth as much as thin. Sometimes this tea teases at a dry green floral taste but presents itself dimly in the nose instead. Some sessions that use longer infusion times completely drowned out the floral, leaving one questioning, “Where is that floral oolong taste that everyone loves?”

This tea presents very little in the way of sweetness. It spends its energy striving for a full feeling in the mouth, which it can’t quite actualize.

Although this insanely cheap tea doesn’t excite, it keeps calling one back. Its very nature of plainness and everydayness is its strength. Its mild energy taps about in the guts as one sits in meditation with this tea. Enjoying this tea is to enjoy the normal everyday, seemingly mundane things that normally pass us by in a day. As one sips this tea one enjoys such things to their fullest. One enjoys this tea.



RTea said...

Great review. The tea is rather bland and lacks the energy of a true high mountain tea, but if some sources are to be believed, the varietal that is being used to produce this tea is a hybrid Taiwan black tea varietal (Hong Yu #18), which could explain a lot about the taste.

I followed your link to the company site and saw that they sell this product for what amounts to $5.50 for 250gr. That is insanely cheap, and makes this tea a better value than even many mainland oolongs.

Good find.

Matt said...


Yes, this tea doesn't deserve the comparison to Taiwanese high mountain oolong. A black tea varietal ? ... very interesting- another reason not to compare.

It is cheap and a very very good tea for the price. There was something about this tea that one quite enjoyed, something hard to pin down.

Thanks for the info,


Matt said...

For interested readers,

You can purchase this tea on two English sites, but you'll have to pay a bit more than the $5.50 Vietnamese price: