Lung Phin Tiger Monkey is a wild green tea from Lung Phin village in Ha Giang Province of Vietnam. It is produced entirely by Mr Po and his family, who belong to the ethnic Black H’Mong people, just outside of Lung Phin village. The leaves are plucked from old, large tea trees that grow wild around their homes. This tea undergoes a simple traditional processing technique and is unusual in that it is hand dried in a wood fired pan rather than baked. The altitude of the village and the wild trees that grow there is around 1,500m. The local soil character as well as weather conditions allow only three short spurts of growth on the old tea trees a year, each being a distinctive flush. This particular tea was plucked in summer 2019.
The name for this tea comes from the village of origin, Lung Phin, and the days of the Vietnamese lunar calendar, Tiger and Monkey. It is on these days that there is a colourful village market in Lung Phin, where this tea can be bought locally. We think that Tiger Monkey also happens to be quite a fitting name for a green tea with such a strong character.
This Lung Phin Tiger Monkey green tea is made from leaves of Camellia sinensis var. assamica tea trees that are commonly found growing wild in this part of the world. The use of these plants results in a green tea with strong character, albeit with a balanced and complex character.
The large dry twisted leaves of this Vietnamese green tea have a green and silvery appearance. They produce an opaque light yellow coloured liquor with a zesty and smoky scent. The character of this Lung Phin Tiger Monkey green tea is a unique combination of sweet and savoury flavours. There is definite, although minimal, astringency present on the aftertaste but this is quite nicely balanced by the sweet umami notes of green peppers and citrus that hit your palate prior to the aftertaste. A delightful tea that really stands out due to the combination of sweet and savoury flavours as well as the pleasant smoky aroma. It is a full bodied and complex tea that really is rather different when compared to lighter Chinese or grassier Japanese green teas.
We suggest brewing at 80°C for 1-2 minutes according to your taste. Lung Phin Tiger Monkey green tea can be brewed 4 or more times depending on your taste preferences. Repeated steepings really help develop the complex flavours of this tea as well as bring out the interplay between the mild astringency and the sweet and savoury flavours.