Baan Mae Sae Wild Forest is a semi-wild tea that hails from a small plantation located in the jungle of northern Thailand. It has a unique flavour that is earthy and characteristically chocolaty. Grown at an altitude of around 1,600 metres, it was picked in spring 2017.
Baan Mae Sae Wild Forest black tea gets its name from Baan Mae Sae village, located about 90km north of the city of Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. The tea trees here are scattered amongst other jungle trees. We class this type of tea as semi-wild. In this case it means that the trees were planted by the farmers from tea trees that are native to the local forest. The leaves are picked off the trees, but they are left to grow wild on their own, with no extensive care or cutting taking place. These trees tend to and do grow rather large, up to 5 metres, if not taller, depending on the surrounding environment. This is in complete contrast to the fully planted and managed tea estates where the trees are kept as small bushes in order to facilitate leaf picking.
The trees that this Baan Mae Sae Wild Forest tea is picked from are of local stock, which is an assamica varietal. It is a native tree to this part of Thailand and has been growing here for millions of years. Some of the older trees found in the jungles here are very tall and ancient. It is thought that this type of tree is the first type of tea plant to come into existence and it is found in northern Thailand but also in Yunnan Province in China, northern Laos, eastern Myanmar and western Vietnam. The trees of this assamica varietal are very robust and don’t require much care and definitely are happy to grow in this part of the world on their own without human interference of fertilisers or pesticides. While this tea has no organic certification, it is grown to organic standards as it is essentially left to grow on its own.
This jungle plantation is very small and specialises in a very traditional way of processing tea. There are only a couple of woks for roasting tea and one oven, which is coal fired, that is used for baking. This traditional method of production leads to Baan Mae Sae Wild Forest tea having quite a unique and unusual flavour profile. The dark red and brown dry leaves are rather mixed in appearance with some very large leaves in the mix. The liquor is a dark red colour with a slightly woody and earthy aroma. The wok roasting of this tea brings out the dominant deep chocolate and cocoa flavours. The woody and earthy taste is nicely balanced by the sweet notes of dark chocolate and fruits. There is no astringency or bitterness on the mouthwatering finish. Overall a delightful tea that has gained a degree of complexity due to traditional growing and processing methods.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed around 3 times depending on your taste preferences.