I am pretty sure I have tried Vietnamese tea before as I have vague memories of staying up late last year to watch Full Metal Jacket and drinking a pot of it. I searched my tasting notes but I have over 470 and I can’t find it amongst them or even remember where it would be from. I suppose that is something most people don’t know about me, I am very interested in the Vietnam war. I’m not saying that I agree with war at all but I am just drawn in to it like a moth to light.
My point from the above text is that even though I have tried Vietnamese tea I have no vivid recollection of flavours or smells so I will be going into this tasting session blind. I enjoy doing blind sessions sometimes because it’s the now knowing that makes it interesting.
In raw form this tea has a very earthy, musky, leather like aroma. Very potent and thick. The leaves are black/brown in appearance and have been chopped into small pieces with a few small stalk pieces amongst them. There are also dots of green and yellow leaves amongst the dark contrast. Everything I would expect so far from an Orange Pekoe (OP).
Once steeped this tea is burnt orange in colour with a malted, earthy, wooden and subtly sweet.
The tea tastes sweet, slightly citrus, earthy, woodsy and rich. The fist few sips start with a sweet velvety slight smokiness which progresses into a light wood that gets deeper and darker until you are left with a rich earthy after taste. It’s not particularly strong but it offers enough flavour to be pleasing.
It reminds me of a Keemun but with earthier tones or perhaps even a mil Yunnan. I don’t think it will be a regular purchase but I can certainly enjoy it whilst it’s on my shelf.