Preserve Green Tea From Araksa Tea Garden in Thailand

Just a little while ago, I introduced my readers to the Araksa Tea Garden, located in Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Check out my Company Spotlight post to learn more about this beautiful estate.

Now, I am introducing you to the Preserve Green Tea from Araksa Tea Garden. This green tea is made from freshly hand-harvested Camellia Sinensis Assamica bushes, then is manually roasted, and hand-rolled. The name “Preserve” is intended to communicate the motivation of the tea masters at Araksa to make this green tea using traditional and local methods. As of this post, Araksa does not have an online tea shop, and this tea can only be purchased from their store on the garden grounds. Sounds like a great motivation to go tour the estate!

Let’s get to the review…

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Araksa Preserve Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from pale light yellow buds to pale dark forest green leaves. The blend consists of medium size leaf, bud, and stem fragments. There is a generous portion of bud fragments. There are a few bare stems. There are a few leaves that show a touch of oxidation, but overall the oxidation level is minimal. The leaves are rolled, and have a rather consistent size and shape overall, considering that they are hand rolled. The leaves and buds appear to be fairly young and tender. The aroma is quite fresh and powerful, with scents of brown sugar, toasted pecans, vanilla, and a touch of sweet cream.

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an 18 ounce (530 mL) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 175°F (80°C) water for 2:00 minutes. Two infusions were extracted from the leaves, but they could have given at least one more quality infusion.

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Araksa Preserve Green Tea – Liquid

The tea liquid has a pale, light gold-yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has fresh scents of lilac, vanilla, mineral, and light touches of pecan. The body is fuller than I expected, with a bright, lively character. There is a touch of astringency, and no bitterness. The taste has clean, fresh notes of lilac, mineral (wet stones), pecan, and a touch of cooked chard. The aftertaste carries the lilac and light vegetal character, and there is a fairly potent flowery essence left on the breath.

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Araksa Preserve Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves and buds are mostly a fresh forest green color, while the stems and a few of the leaves display a copper brown color, again evidencing the slight oxidation that occurred during production. Nearly all of the leaves, buds, and stems are medium size fragments. There are no unbroken or whole leaves in the mix, but there are a few unbroken, tender buds. The leaves and buds have a soft, smooth, tender texture. The aroma carries the scents of lilac and mineral, with a touch of pecan.

The Preserve Green Tea from Araksa Tea Garden provides a rejuvenating, refreshing, and uplifting green tea experience. Certainly not overwhelming on the grassy, vegetal green tea character, this tea offers a fresh floral and mineral aroma and taste that invokes thoughts of spring (we in Pittsburgh are desperately yearning for these thoughts right now). Although excellent served hot, I can imagine this would make for a thoroughly refreshing iced tea, as well. The clean environment that these leaves are grown in, and the care that goes into them during production, can be felt in the potent aromas and pure taste of this tea.

Thanks again to the management at Araksa Tea Garden for giving me an opportunity to experience the Preserve Green Tea! Cheers!

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea From The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership

What’s in my cup today (as the trendy marketing phrase goes)? Something unique and special from my favorite small tea farm in Thailand, The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership.  Their website gives some interesting information on the history of this tea farm prior to the cultivation of tea, so check it out! There are also some nice photos in their gallery.

Be sure to check them out on Facebook, also, where they regularly post beautiful photos of their tea fields, and interesting videos of their oolong and green teas being processed.

This #12 Bai Hao Green Tea is a new experimental product for The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership. While they do also make a green tea called Jade Green, which can be purchased here, the Bai Hao product uses only the first young leaf and young bud pluck. The Jade Green uses the two leaf and bud pluck. I reviewed the Jade Green Tea a few years ago. A photo of the canister that the Jade Green Tea comes in is below. With the difference in plucking standard, I expect this Bai Hao to have a more delicate character than the Jade Green. Both products are made using leaves harvested from TTES#12 (Jin Xuan) cultivar bushes, so again, it will be interesting to see how something as seemingly simple as a one leaf pluck difference contributes to variances in character.

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#12 Jade Green Tea – Retail Package

As for a little refresher on The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership, it is a small farm consisting of only about five acres (2 hectares) of land, only half of which is under tea cultivation. The farm sits at an altitude about 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level. The farm cultivates the TTES#17 (Qing Xin) and TTES#12 (Jin Xuan) cultivars. A Google map showing the general location of The Doi Inthanon Partnership farm is below.

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark charcoal gray color, with young silver-gold buds. The color indicates that the leaves were permitted a very slight oxidation, and given a heavy roast during production. The pluck appears to be one tender leaf and a bud still attached to the shoot. There are few broken or detached fragments, and no bare stems. The leaves are hand-rolled, as indicated by the “loose” appearance, and variation in the shape of the finished leaves. The aroma is very attractive, with a dominant scent of chocolate that reminds me of chocolate covered strawberries, and a touch of dry cut grass.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 240 ml (about 8 ounces) bizen-ware kyusu teapot. The leaves were infused in 175°F (80°C) water for 30 seconds on the first infusion, with 15 seconds added to each subsequent infusion.

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea – 1st Infusion Liquid

The liquid has a pale yellow-gold color, which deepens significantly between infusions two through four. The aroma has scents of lotus flower, wet stones, cooked celery and cooked collard greens. The body is medium, with a creamy, smooth texture. The texture evolves into a more broth-like character with subsequent infusions. There is a mild astringency. The taste has notes that perfectly reflect the aroma, consisting of lotus flower, wet stones, cooked celery and collard greens, and a touch of fresh grass. The aftertaste carries the mineral and grassy notes, and evolves into a lingering floral essence in the mouth.

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a mostly uniform forest green color, with a slight oxidation showing through on many of the leaves. The pluck consists mostly of one tender leaf and bud, but there are few with a second leaf attached. Almost all of the leaves are fully intact, unbroken, and attached to the shoot along with the bud. There are very few detached, broken leaves in the mix, indicating a high level of care being taken while handling the leaves during the harvesting and processing stages. There are no bare stems. The tender young leaves are rather long and narrow for the TTES#12 cultivar, although the age may explain the lack of broad width. The leaves are quite thin and delicate, again an indication of the young age. The aroma carries the scents of cooked celery and vegetables, wet stones, and lotus flowers.

Below is another photo I took of some individual plucks.

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea – Infused Individual Leaves

As I have come to expect from the teas produced by The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership, the #12 Bai Hao Green Tea gave me much to appreciate in every stage of the analysis. The incredible aroma of the dry leaves was the first impression, and a very positive first impression it was. The evolution of the aroma, texture, and taste of the tea liquid from infusion to infusion offered generally the same notes with varying levels of strength. Some infusions highlighting the lotus flower notes, others highlighting the mineral notes, and others offering more of the cooked vegetables and greens. The texture evolving from a smooth, creamy texture at first to a more broth-like, savory character from the second infusion on. And, my favorite part of this review, was observing the infused leaves. These leaves truly reflected the hard work and high level of care shown to the leaves at every stage from the bush to the final product. Quality is definitely the focus of The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership.

Thanks again to The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership for sending this sample of #12 Bai Hao Green Tea! Cheers!

Jade Tea from Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership in Thailand

Today, I will be focusing on the Jade Tea from the Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership. This is an organically grown high mountain green oolong tea. The raw tea leaves are harvested from the TTES # 12 (Jin Xuan) cultivar.

The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership is located in Bhan Khun Wang, Tambon Mae Win, Amphoe Mae Wang, Chiang Mai Province, north Thailand. The garden cultivates only five acres (2.02 hectares) of land, and of these five acres, only about half is covered in tea. The cultivars grown are the TTES #17 (Qing Xin) and TTES #12 (Jin Xuan). The tea garden has an average altitude above 1,500 meters (4,900 feet). The factory focuses completely on the production of oolong and green tea. For more information on the Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership, please visit their website here.

The sample packet has been opened, and the leaves are definitely hand plucked and hand rolled. Let the journey begin…

Doi Inthanon Jade Green Tea Dry Leaves
Doi Inthanon Jade Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a dark cloudy green color, with some variation in the darkness of the leaves. There is an impressive amount of silver tips. The leaves are all whole, unbroken leaves. There are no crumbs or fragments whatsoever. The pluck is mostly two tender leaves and the bud, or one tender leaf and the bud. The buds are fairly mature. The leaves are obviously hand plucked, and hand rolled. There was much attention and care put in to the plucking and processing of these leaves. The leaves appear to be pan-fired. It looks like there was a little oxidation that occurred, but certainly less than the Yun Bi oolong tea from Doi Inthanon. I would guess that the oxidation percentage would be about 10%, making this a “green oolong”, as opposed to a true green tea. The aroma has scents of fresh baked bread, toasted seeds, stewed peaches, molasses or brown sugar, and light grass. The aroma seems to jump right out of the packet.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 175° (75°C). Infuse the leaves for 1:30 to 2:00 minutes for the first infusion. Expect at least three or four quality infusions out the same serving of leaves. Decrease the infusion time on the second infusion to 1:00 to 1:30 minutes, then add 15 to 30 seconds to each additional infusion.

Doi Inthanon Jade Green Tea Infusion
Doi Inthanon Jade Green Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light yellowish-jade green color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of toasted seeds, steamed leafy green vegetables, light peach, light brown sugar, and light valley flowers. The body is medium, with a smooth, almost brothy texture. The taste has notes of toasted seeds, steamed leafy green vegetables, valley flowers, light wood, and light peach. There is a mild astringency, and no bitterness. The aftertaste leans to the grassy and steamed vegetable notes, but the essence left on the breath is pleasantly floral.

Doi Inthanon Jade Green Tea Infused Leaves
Doi Inthanon Jade Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a perfectly uniform fresh light forest green color. I am still guessing the oxidation level to be about 10%. All the leaves and buds are whole and unbroken. There is not a single broken piece, fragment, or crumb in the sample! The pluck is either two fine leaves and a bud, or one fine leaf and a bud. The leaves are quite small and fine, with a soft, thin texture. The buds are fairly mature, with an average length of about 0.8 of an inch (20 mm). The uniformity of the size of the leaves and buds is very impressive. The aroma has scents of toasted seeds, valley flowers, light stewed peach, light wood, and cooked leafy green vegetables. Below is an extra photo of some of the individual infused leaves.

Doi Inthanon Jade Green Tea Infused Leaves Closeup
Doi Inthanon Jade Green Tea Infused Leaves Closeup

Interestingly, I did not sense any of the cream or milk characteristics that the Jin Xuan (TTES # 12) cultivar is renowned for providing. Not that this fact took away any of the pleasure I had in trying this tea, but it is an observation with this Jade Tea, as well as the Yun Bi Tea, which was also produced from the leaves of the Jin Xuan cultivar. With that being said, this tea had much to offer! The beautiful, masterfully cared for appearance of the dry leaves, the bright and lively color of the infusion, and the uniformity and wholeness of the infused leaves, were all very visually impressive! As noted earlier, the aroma of the dry leaves jumps out of the package. The tea itself has a great energy, and a satisfying texture. The taste was dominant with toasted seeds and steamed leafy green vegetables, providing a healthy taste that makes your body feel happier with each sip. This is another great product from Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership!

I am sad to say that I have only one product from Doi Inthanon left to review. That is the Luan Tze oolong. Thanks to Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership for providing these impressive samples! Cheers!

Suwirun Green Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas

The focus of today’s review is the Suwirun Green Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas. This is the highest quality green tea offered by Daokrajai.

Two notes for today’s review. First, I still do not have complete function of my nose. The weather and temperatures in Pittsburgh have varied by nearly 30°F from day to day, and my sinuses are not appreciating the diversity. If the aroma descriptions are a bit broad, please forgive me. Second, I got rid of my iPhone last evening and opted for an LG. Please be patient with the photos while I get accustomed to the new camera functions.

Let the journey begin…

Suwirun Green Tea Dry Leaves
Suwirun Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light forest green to dark forest green. The leaves are rolled, and appear to be medium to large fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves are very dry, and quite fragile. The aroma is quite potent, with scents of nuts, grass, wood, and molasses. The aroma is very attractive.

Four grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds.

Suwirun Green Tea 1st Infusion
Suwirun Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is potent, with scents of nuts, wood, and light ripe citrus fruit. The body is medium, with a lively and invigorating feel. The taste is brisk, with notes of wood, nuts, grass, and citrus fruit. The aftertaste is sweet (fruity), with a flowery essence left on the breath.

Suwirun Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Suwirun Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a darker golden-yellow color. The aroma remained potent, with scents of nuts and wood. The fruity aroma has dissipated. The body remains medium. The taste is stronger, especially on the woody, grassy, and nutty notes. The citrus fruit note has lightened, but is still easily identifiable. The aftertaste is more woody or nutty in this infusion, and the flowery essence remains.

Suwirun Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Suwirun Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a color similar to the first infusion. The aroma has lightened some, and the scents of wood and nuts are most prevalent. The fruity scent has surfaced again, in a very light way. The body has lightened some. The taste has also lightened, and remains dominant in the nuts and wood notes, and light on the citrus note. Despite an overall lighter character, there is plenty of aroma and taste in this third infusion.

Suwirun Green Tea Infused Leaves
Suwirun Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a forest green to dark forest green color. The leaves are all small to large fragments. There are no whole leaves. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a soft, delicate feel. The aroma has scents of wood and nuts.

The Suwirun Green Tea was a very nice product, overall. The aromas were very potent, even for someone who has a hard time smelling much. The taste was refreshing and brisk, and had a nice balance of flavors. It is certainly different than most of the Chinese and Japanese green teas that I have experienced. Quite honestly, I like this style a little better. I prefer the nutty, woody tastes over fresh cut grass and vegetable tastes.

The Suwirun Green Tea was another great experience, courtesy of Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas. Cheers!

Wirun Green Tea Powder from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas

Let’s get to a green tea product from Daokrajai Lanne Thai Teas. It has been clarified to me that Daokrajai is not actually the name of the tea farm that these products are sourced from, hence the change of name to Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas.

The sample packet of wirun green tea has been opened, and a small bag of green tea powder is inside. Not what I was expecting, but welcome, none the less. Let the journey begin…

The dry leaves are ground in to a fine powder with a bright forest green color. Very similar to ceremonial grade Japanese Matcha. The aroma has strong scents of fresh cut grass.

The four gram sample of powder was placed in a eight ounce ceramic matcha bowl. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The powder was whisked in the water.

Wirun Powdered Green Tea Infusion
Wirun Powdered Green Tea Infusion

The infusion has a dark forest green color, cloudy, thick, and opaque. The aroma has scents of fresh cut grass and dark green vegetables. The body is full, with a mouth-filling, grainy texture. The taste is rich, with strong notes of fresh cut grass, and lighter notes of dark green vegetables. The aftertaste is grassy, and the flowery essence that is left on the breath is very pleasant.

I am not used to writing such short reviews, but there is not much to analyze in a powdered tea. This tea was very similar to ceremonial grade Japanese matcha green tea. If you like Japanese matcha, as I do, then you will enjoy this tea. It may certainly be used in cooking and baking, as well to provide a multitude of vitamins and minerals, as well as a bright green color.