From the tea’s listing: “This tea is produced from ancient tea trees from the Northern Highlands of Vietnam.” Highlands, you say? Ancient trees? Why, yes, yes I do believe that needs to get in my tea pot this instant.
It is not a terribly pricey tea, but one I feel I would keep stashed away for dreary afternoons or perhaps certain guests. Mainly because I feel the taste is not one everyone would enjoy.
The leaves are slightly tippy, with a rich colour that reminds me more of a loosely rolled oolong than anything; the speed with which the liquid brewed to a deep brown made me think of a chai. Naturally, the final result was nothing like either of these.
The smell put me in the mindset of a milder Pu-erh without the potent, mildly decayed notes. This does not last long before it changes to something that is nothing near Pu-erh. Possibly the best way to describe it is wandering into the dusty corners of a used bookstore and burrowing into a long forgotten hardcover of an Agatha Christie novel. It has that sort of lingering, familiar, and comforting scent of well worn pages and linen bindings.
Shan Tuyet is a milder black tea, so it would be good for those who do not care for overpowering flavors. It has a very woodsy, earthy taste, but whereas Pu-erh is like a dense forest, this tea is more akin to the brush along a field’s edge. Clean and smooth, it still retains a very unique flavor with a sweet finish that mingles well with the overall musty smell. A very small amount of pure cane sugar (roughly half of a teaspoon) enhances the tea’s flavor without masking any of its natural notes. It is the perfect tea for chilly, early mornings watching the sun rise or dreary afternoons curled up with a book.
I hope that eventually I can create a blend for Grey Brews using this particular tea as a base.