PROFILE: HONEY SWEET, CARAMEL, LIQUORICE, SMOKEY CHARCOAL
ORIGIN: MOC CHAU, SON LA, VIETNAM
HARVEST: OCTOBER 2023
Dragon’s Breath is a surprising tea that produces a golden amber liquor with excellent body, a gentle honey sweetness and flavours that encompass toasted rice, caramel, liquorice and lightly smoked charcoal. The flavours are particularly intense during the first two steepings
Dragon's Breath is a close relative of our Red Buffalo being produced from the same Thanh Tam (“Qingxin”) cultivar and subject to identical withering and oxidation processes. It is in the later stages of production where the two teas differ with Dragon’s Breath only subjected to light rolling to maintain a bar shaped leaf. The final character of Dragon’s Breath is created through a precise and carefully controlled drying phase as end of processing. The tea is dried and rested many times over a 7 to 10 day period until the desired flavour profile is achieved.
Dragon's Breath is produced on a 33 hectare farm on the rolling Moc Chau plateau at an altitude between 1100 and 1200 metres . The farm employees 65 people and can produce a total of 10 tonnes of finished tea each year. In addition to tea, Moc Chau is also well known for dairy farming and the growing of plums, apricots and various types of flowers, including orchids.
The dry tea smells of licorice with wisps of smoke that make me think of lump charcoal on top of a deep roasted note. The brewed tea is lightly herbal with toasted grain (makes me think of puffed wheat or toasted rice), mellow licorice, and the barest wisp of charcoal char. The is a honey-like sweetness after the sip and absolutely no bitterness. It's a very gentle and comforting tea. It makes me want to sip it while bundled up in a warm blanket in front of a crackling fire on a cold winter’s morning. Additional infusions shift away from the herbal, licorice notes, and sweetness to a drier tea with charcoal and spices as the predominate note supported by a dry toasted grain.