PROFILE: STRAW, MINERAL, LIGHT FRUIT, SHENG
ORIGIN: SUOI GIANG, YEN BAI, VIETNAM
HARVEST: AUGUST 2018
Straw, minerals and a light fruitiness epitomise this engaging, young, raw, sun-dried (mao cha style) dark tea from wild Suoi Giang trees in Yen Bai province. Snow Princess is very well balanced with just enough astringency for that rich, smooth mouthfeel and where the battle between sweetness and bitterness rages as infusions progress. Bright, fresh and complex with sweet aftertaste and subtle hints of pear and melon that suggest the direction that the tea will go with ageing.
Snow Princess is prepared from one bud and one leaf only. Leaves undergo a short withering after which they are put through a brief firing/ fixing period before being rolled. They are then left to sun-dry to preserve the shape and colour of the leaf. This tea is very similar in style to a raw (sheng) Pu'erh but with a Vietnamese character. It is currently only sold as loose leaf.
Suoi Giang (literally: heavenly river) is a small commune located in the misty mountains of Yen Bai province. It nestles in an area surrounded by the ancient shaded forests, at altitudes between 1300 and 1400 metres, where wild tea trees have been grown by ethnic minority families for many hundreds of years. H'Mong families continue to harvest the leaves today either for their own consumption as fresh tea or for processing as dried leaves. Apart from tea the district is also known for sticky rice and hot springs.
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