Organic Vietnam Nam Lanh Black Tea

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Black Tea
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Astringent, Creamy, Floral, Malt, Musty
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 9 oz / 255 ml

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From Arbor Teas

Southeast Asia’s answer to rich, malty Assam tea! This organic and Fair Trade Certified Nam Lanh Estate Black Tea hails from the banks of the Red River in Vietnam’s Yen Bai province. The uniform, twisted leaves exhibit substantial tippiness, and yield a brew that is pleasantly rich, malty and coppery, with hints of molasses. Although the rainforests of south China (and their indigenous tea trees) have been all but destroyed by sprawl and industrialization, efforts are afoot to preserve the rainforests just south of the border in northern Vietnam. In order to make a compelling argument to the Vietnamese government for the preservation of these native landscapes, the tea harvesting tribes of Vietnam’s Yen Bai province are striving to produce superior-quality “ancient tree” teas that are highly sought after on the international marketplace. Although they’re still developing their green tea manufacturing technique, this very wonderful black tea is now being produced to help preserve Vietnam’s northern rainforests.

Sustainability is a cornerstone of Arbor Teas’ business philosophy. In addition to offering an exclusively organic selection of teas, they recently became the first tea company to offer their whole catalog in 100% backyard compostable packaging. They’ve also carbon-offset the entire supply chain of their products, from origin to the customer, making Arbor Teas the greenest option for Earth-conscious tea drinkers, and one of few tea companies recognized by Green America.

About Arbor Teas View company

We’re tea enthusiasts with a lot of passion. Passion for top quality tea, the environment, fair trade, and our community. We started Arbor Teas in Ann Arbor, Michigan, intent on creating a tea company as passionate as we are. Our passion is reflected in every aspect of Arbor Teas. You’ll certainly notice it in the exceptional collection of teas we offer - one of the largest catalogs of USDA certified organic teas around, nearly three-quarters of which are Fair Trade Certified®.

23 Tasting Notes

2816 tasting notes

Backlogging – this tea was great with a pinch of keemun from the Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants. I used 2/3 vietnam black and 1/3 keemun. Now I know what to do with all my leftover keemun samples I don’t want to drink straight. :)


Amanda, do you see this post on The main Tasting Notes Page, or just on Amy’s page, or both? I am not seeing it on the main Tasting notes page (1:41 PM EST). Amy said she’s has been having issues with her posts.


OK…….now I see it on the main page, but It wasn’t there before. I read the Jun Jun Mei review on the main Tasting Notes page long before the Viet Lahn Black ever showed up on the main page-now it is listed before the Yunnan JJM review. Yet on her Tasting notes page, the Vietnam Black is listed as newer-that’s screwed up! ://


Yep, this wasn’t here for me earlier, and just popped up in between two posts I have already seen.


yeah it seems like Steepster is a little buggy



Scott B

I like this tea pretty well straight, but I have some Keemun I could blend in for a change.


@ScottB- I liked this combo better than H&S Imperial breakfast which was a mix of assam and keemun. Still I agree, this tea is quite nice on its’ own.


Yeah I have a bunch that are out of chronological order, including this one, and when I posted my note earlier today it didn’t show up on my dashboard for an hour.

Scott B

Amy-Well, it definitely sounds interesting.

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911 tasting notes

The Final Sipdown: Day 16
Decupboarding Total: 31

And it’s another sample gone! I really like this tea – it’s got the sweetness and smoothness of a yunnan but there’s a little bright Darjeeling-like kick to the end of it that shows up sometimes. It’s a nice tea to drink straight, which can be a challenge for non-Chinese blacks (at least for me). If I had a larger container of this it would be very easy for me to drink though it is missing just a little something that would push it into the ‘must run out and get more of this!’ category. Still, a good tea that is definitely worth a try!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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6768 tasting notes

Having another cup of this before sending the rest to a friend. This is a great one if you like stronger black teas! Woot!

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1015 tasting notes

Finishing up the last of this tonight! I really like the strength of this tea and it is just so smooth. Mmmm, this might have to go on my shopping list.

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328 tasting notes

Thank you Arbor Teas for sending these wonderful samples my way. I was quite curious to try a tea from Viet Nam and I can report that it is quite good. It is certainly not as brisk or astringent as other Assams I have sampled. Which is a good thing. I am trying to cut down my sugar use and I do not want some astringent tea that needs to be smothered in sugar to make it palatable. In fact, it was quite mild w/ a background note of molasses as described by Arbor teas. Possibly could work as an afternoon tea as well as a morning tea. Luckily, I still have some left and am looking forward to trying it tomorrow.

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54 tasting notes

Organic Vietnam Nam Lanh OP

Dry aroma: Soft exotic scent, resembling tarragon, muted 5-spice and the scent of the woods in Autumn.

Wet aroma: fruity currant, raw sugar, subtle spice

Appearance: Dark umber leaves and stems with fully-oxidized, fairly uniform cut and sort, some lighter blond accents

Cup: Dark caramel-cola colored liquor. Smooth, rich flavor with distinct notes of coriander, blushingly sweet finish, with lingering notes of hickory wood and ethereal smoke. Moderate bodied and exceptionally clean.

I managed to brew 3 extractions on 3g in a 6oz celadon gaiwan and each had a similar strength and profile.

I received this sample from what I believe is the importer/distributor of this tea and so I can’t rightly say it came from Arbor Teas, but I do think it is the same tea and tea source. Either way I think this is a great offering and worthy to show case as a tea outside of the normal production arenas. Having had a few teas from Vietnam, I find them wonderful to share and I think they do have a natural terroir all their own and this shows itself even more clearly in the green and oolongs, where the mellow, smooth character displays distinct notes that grow more elusive in the black’s oxidation. A great tea for anyone who thinks black teas are all tart and tannic, bitter, or biscuit-like.

This tea blended well with the day in an unexpected way.

It’s a unseasonably warm March day, lingering on the Ides of March, which were made ominously haunted by the death of a good friend of mine a few years back. He was the best cowboy hat-wearing, coffee slinging, cycling-nerd, generous soul, and military hero that I have every known and one of the few people I would ever have considered a mentor. In addition, I learned that I buddy of mine’s ex-wife passed away, too young and too gentle a person to have gone so soon. So the overcast weather, dreary warm and unusual day has had in its swirling center, a cup equally elusive, mercurial, and worthy of celebration and remembrance.

“beauty is that which unrepeatable” – cherish each moment, each connection, each sip.

200 °F / 93 °C

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109 tasting notes

This reminds me of the Vietnamese tea I had from TG. Dry leaves are tightly rolled, dark brown with some golden tips. Dry aroma-somewhat malty, with a note of orange citrus. Didn’t notice how much the leaves unfurled the first steep, but upon second steep they are completely unfurled. Brewed aroma is fairly malty. Liquor is nice and coppery. Tastes much like an Assam. Malty. Maybe a touch of citrus. Getting just the faintest note of cinnamon on occasion-wonder if cinnamon is grown nearby? Strong, but not bitter or astringent. Definitely a good solid morning tea.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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514 tasting notes

I haven’t had a lot of black teas. I tried the occasional bagged ‘English Breakfast’ blends before I started buying loose tea, but mostly I drank bagged green teas. I don’t know quite how an Assam is supposed to taste, but based on descriptions I’ve read, I wouldn’t describe this as similar to one. I have Yunnan gold-tip teas from two different sources and I don’t think this tea significantly different in terms of strength and astringency. I’ll have to start expanding my black tea collection in order to make better assessments :)

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133 tasting notes

Sample package label:
Ingredients: Organic Vietnamese Black Tea, Fair-Trade Certified, USDA Organic
1 “generous” teaspoon – steep 212*F, 3 – 5 minutes.

8-oz* water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 24 ppm, boiled

This tea has a grassy cinnamon fragrance.
Vibrant reddish hue
First Infusion:
3-min: Initial taste – Very soft, smooth, & pleasing. I then steeped it an additional 2-min.
5-min: Very soft, smooth, with a strong note of cinnamon. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.

2nd Infusion (6-oz, 6-min): Enjoyable & slightly lighter than the first cup.

Impression: This is a very soft, smooth, medium-bodied, somewhat malty, slightly sweet, black tea with a strong note of cinnamon, and without any bitterness or astringency – a surprising taste experience for a “Vietnamese Assam.” This is a great choice for an afternoon or evening tea.

Arbor Teas 4 Organic Black Tea Sample Series Conclusion:
Of the four organic Arbor Teas I’ve tasted: Earl Grey, Assam TGFOP, Golden Yunnan, Vietnam Nam Lanh, the Assam TGFOP was my favorite breakfast tea and the Golden Yunnan was my favorite choice for afternoon or evening.

Thanks once again to Arbor Teas for providing these generous size free samples.

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42 tasting notes

I’ve cupped this atleast 6 more times since my first tasting note on it and I’ve noticed a few things about it. The main thing of note is that to my tongue it is best drank at warm or lesser temperatures. I made the mistake of drinking it when it was still quite hot and the taste was really flat. None of the sweetness and smooth finish I noticed in my original tasting, just smokey and astringent. I swore I had brewed it wrong, but I tasted it again when it had cooled and the taste was what I remembered. I now never drink it before I’ve let it cool 15 minutes.

The second thing is that this tea stands up great to multiple steepings. I’ve only done a second so far, but the tea was just as bold (and I had brewed it for the same 4 minutes I normally do) so I’m sure it could at least stand up to three infusions.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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