Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vietnamese Tea Table

Still in Ballenberg museum. We only visited the buildings from
the Kanton Bern, where my family came from, and it took most of
a day. That was about 1/8 of the total structures and it felt like we only skimmed the surface.

Today is a beautiful day, with lots of sunshine, although it got off to a grim gray start. We went for a walk and the sideshow of Bert and Ernie followed along, racing up and down trees, playing "kill your brother" and finally, being carried, as befits a prince. We are such suckers.

I have generally liked Simpson and Vail teas. I think they were the second merchant, after Upton's, that I bought tea from. One of the things i have liked about them is their willingness to try teas from countries that are just getting into the better tea market, like Bolivia and Vietnam.
Today's tea comes from Vietnam and is simply called Vietnam Black. I think I told you a while back about an article I read about Vietnamese tea growers. Most are very small, sometimes just a backyard. Often the leaves are processed at home, using an old industrial clothes drier. Sometimes there are cooperatives that process the tea. This is all done primarily in the north, where the mountains are.

I like the service I get from this company and I especially like the fact that the bags for the tea are bio-degradeable. I can use them as brown matter in my compost pile.

Dry, the leaves are smallish and twisted, definitely black. They smell faintly medicinal. As they brew, they give up an amber liquid that smells somewhat malty, a little sweet. I followed S&V's recommendation of 3 minutes with boiling water. They also said this is a tea that would blend well with others. Kind of like the good kid in kindergarten. This something of a gentle tea, having both malty and nutty notes. I think I can detect a little spice and maybe a high note of citrus here and there. It's not really exceptional, but it is pleasant and I could see how it would easily blend with other black teas.

Don't forget the tea giveaway mentioned yesterday.

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