Leaf Type: Oolong, Jin Xuan with natural flavouring.
Where to Buy: Siam Tee
Cha Khao Hom Thai Rice Tea Premium – 100% natural scented Jin Xuan oolong tea;Exclusive Thai tea specialty from Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand; harmonious combination of high-quality Thai Jin Xuan oolong tea and natural flavor dispensers “Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye” (= “sweet fragrance rice tender leaves”).
Learn more about this tea here.
Firstly; I need everyone to bare with me while I do this review. Truth be told I’m out of my comfort zone with this tea but it sounds so wonderfully unique that I have to try it. That means I need to learn as I go, which will hopefully be passed onto you wonderful people.
When it comes to Thai tea I think about Oolong and fruity tasting black/red tea. Well this is an Oolong, Jin Xuan as it states on the description but it’s flavoured with a herb to give it a rice flavour. This herb is fairly common throughout Asia and it is noted to being translated from Chinese to English as “sticky rice” herb. A quick search has shown me that the Chinese name for this herb is Nuo Dao Gen. As well as “sticky rice” it is also commonly translated as “Glutinous Rice”. The part of the plant that is most commonly used is the root and it is said to be very helpful with night sweats and hormonal issues. Another few searches later and I find that this root is very commonly used in Asian food and it is not known to have any side effects, so fear not if you are disliking the idea of taking a random herb.
Some of this information became familiar, I have tried a Pu Erh before which claimed to be ‘glutinous rice’ flavour. It was a while ago and I remember the rice being lost against the strong Sheng. But alas, this version is an Oolong base which frankly I find super exciting!
It’s time to open the packet and reveal this mysterious wonder. As soon as the bag is open enough for me to stick in my nose I inhale deeply. First thoughts? “Woah that is ricey”. It’s sweet and toasted but the rice scent is remarkable. A part of me wants to eat it….
In appearance it looks like some normal Jin Xuan Oolong. The pieces are an assortment of small, medium and large sizes with shiny green and dark brown colours on the leaves.
This tea comes in two different grades: Classic and Premium. I dove straight into the premium end and honestly, so far I am happy with the scent and appearance enough to agree the leaves are indeed Premium. If you want more information on this tea including a comparison on the two grades then Siam Tee has a great article on their blog here.
This is the steeping instructions as taken from the sales page:
For the preparation we recommend pouring from 3.5 to 5 grams of tea- “pearl” with 85 ° C – 90 ° C hot water and a steeping time of 2-3 minutes in a first Infusion.
That sounds good to me, I’m actually thankful this was helpful enough to guide me with steeping information.
Just pouring in the water created a beautiful rice aroma that was strong enough to fill my kitchen and living room. Wow, it’s making me salivate!
Once steeped a yellow tea liquid is produced with the aforementioned rice aroma. If someone were to blindfold me and ask me to guess what it was by scent I would say it was a bowl of rice. There is also the same sweetness and toasted notes from it’s raw form.
The first few sips are interesting…I can detect a toasted grass, milky, floral Oolong but by it’s side is a sweet yet thickly moreish rice flavour. The after taste is a lingering thick (almost stodgy) rice note that has coated the whole of my tongue. A few more sips and it has an added sour note though honestly it’s not for long. I have noticed a slight dryness however which becomes noticeable in the after taste which frankly feels even more like I’m eating rice.
Ok so as rice heavy as this tastes it still does not take much away from the Jin Xuan base which manages to hold it’s own. This I am pleased with, if you’re going to drink Jin Xuan then you should really be tasting it.
Half a cup in and the dryness has increased again to a point that I have a cotton dry tongue. Not pleasant but the lingering after taste is making up for it. It’s still consistent though in strength and flavour from those first few sips.
Coming into this tea I had little understanding of what to expect, the nearest I could imagine was something similar to Japanese GenMaicha which has toasted rice pieces in. Now post drink I can say it’s very different. GenMaicha is more toasted and bitty where as this is fresh and definitely glutinous. It was strange (to say the least) but still pleasant and even the drying quality didn’t put me off. I can honestly say that I can see myself drinking a lot of this tea in the near future. Worth a try if you are after something new, or an authentic taste of Thailand.
Hillside Black Tea Blend By Siam Tee
Leaf Type: Black Leaf Blend
Where to Buy: Siam Tee
An aromatic Thai tea blend based on a black tea, collected by members of the resident mountain tribe of Lahu semi wild ancient tea trees in the province of fishing which, by means of subtle and skillful addition of a selected blend of fruit and spices such as cranberry, ginger apple, strawberry and cherry in a unique way the atmosphere of the area covered by forest and agricultural land mountains of northern Thailand captures.
Learn more about this tea here.
Siam Tee is growing to be one of my favourite EU companies, particularly when it comes to blends. This Hillside blend is also available with a green tea base but I chose a black base to try. One of my reasons for adoring their blends is because they use natural flavours from either fruit or essential oil and I take comfort in knowing I’m not drinking chemicals. Far too many times have I experienced a chemical, super sugary fruit tea that claims to be one of the best but really it tastes cheap and tacky, well I have yet to experience anything of the sort from Siam Tee.
Hillside Black says that it contains: cranberry, apple, ginger, strawberry and cherry but does not disclose full information, if you have any allergy then please be aware. The owner of the company Thomas is a very nice man and I’m sure he would address any concerns that you may have in an e-mail.
Opening the packet and taking a quick sniff reveals a mild mixed fruit scent. Further inspection shows very large leaves that are: black, curly, long, thinly rolled and are dark black with some golden tips present. Spreading the mixture out also exposes a couple of large fruit pieces. A closer sniff-spection adds sweet wood to the mild fruit tone.
Steeping Parameters: 5g of blend. Boiling water. 320ml vessel. 3-4 Minute Steep.
Once steeped the tea liquid is amber with a red hue and bares a sweet, strawberry fruit scent with undertones of wood and sour malt.
The first few sips reveal delicate yet sweet fruit notes with some astringency and a sour malt background. The after taste is sweet and fruity whilst not being too overpowering. The fruit is coming through as strawberry sweet but cranberry sour/tart.
As it cools the sour malt comes through a little more but the after taste is fruity and it lingers with the malt, adding some dryness to it all. Perhaps slightly perfumed over all but in a nice contrast to the malt.
The rest of the cup remained rather consistent in terms of strength and flavour. I know I bigged up Siam Tee at the start of my review and while this is not my favourite blend it is still a good job. In terms of quality they are one of the best available. No broken or finely chopped leaves here! The black base is stronger than the fruit but that is to my preference, with such a good quality black tea I want to be able to taste it. So think of this as a black tea with added fruit flavours rather than a fruit tea that happens to contain black leaves.
Overall I like it, a lot actually. Ok so I don’t love it like some of their other blends (Monsoon Oolong is to die for) but this certainly bridges the gap on this rainy afternoon.
Happy Steeping Everyone!
Siam Blend Black Thai Tea Blend from Siam Tea Shop
Leaf Type: Black blend.
Where to Buy: Siam Tea Shop
Siam Blend Black, an aromatic Thai tea blend based on a wild black tea collected by the local Lahu tribe in Fang province, reminiscent of Thai cuisine through an added blend of typical Thai food ingredients such as lemongrass, lime leaf, chili and ginger root.
Learn more about this tea here.
Hello fellow tea lovers,
Today I’m reviewing a blend that was inspired by the aromatic and beautiful flavours of Thai cuisine, think of this as an ode to Thai food in tea form. This sounds delicious but also a little strange at the same time, though I think it’s wonder outweighs my doubts. Thai food flavoured tea…that just sounds so creative…and delicious, right?
The loose leaf is large and hosts an array of colours, most noticeably the lime leaf. The black tea is also large and thinly rolled into long, squiggly pieces. The blend as a whole has a spicy and rather aromatic scent. Not as strong as I expected nor as Thai food strong.
So 2 teaspoons (since it’s large leaf) of blend into my steeping mug and boiling water added for roughly 3-4 minutes.
The resulting tea liquid is dark brown and in colour and has the most amazing Thai scent I have ever smelled from a tea. It truly does smell like Thai green curry, or another similar dish. It’s spicy with citrus highs and a creamy underlayer, before becoming spicy again. Wondrous indeed!
And here comes the taste test (which I can hardly control my excitement about). ..sip..sip. Holy moly, that has a spicy kick! The chilli burns the throat (well rather tingles than burns) and is quickly neutralised by a touch of cream and citrus (which matches the smell) before becoming spicy again in the after taste. The chilli is definitely the main character. I gave a sip for my husband and he stated “I’ve never had such a spicy cup of tea” and considering I’m on 1291 (including this tea) steeping notes of which I pass onto him to try; it’s saying something about this ‘unique’ blend.
I think you would either love or hate this one. As for me I like the inspiration of it and can enjoy the spicy chilli kick at the start of the sip. It’s even making me sweat a little, but it gives you that ‘warm and spicy glow’ that you get when you eat something a little hotter than what you are used to. Hopefully someone else will understand what I mean by that 🙂
So yes, for originality and a unique experience plus a spicy food (or in this case drink) glow I declare this a winning blend. I shall no doubt enjoy the rest of my 20g pouch, and with instructions to ice this tea on their website I even get a chance to experiment a little.
Until next time,