Country of Origin: Vietnam
Leaf Appearance: deep green, twisted
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 175 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: greenish gold
Rakkasan Tea Company first caught my attention with their story. The company was founded by two veterans and they specialize in tea from post-conflict countries as a means of promoting peace and economic growth. Their current catalog features teas from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Laos, Rwanda, and Vietnam. I was excited to see tea pros like Kyle Stewart and Jeni Dodd on their advisory board. This is definitely something that sets them apart from other startups and makes me feel more confident in the quality of the teas that they are sourcing.
H’mong Kings Tea was the first tea that I’ve tried from them but keep an eye out for several more here on the blog. I was intrigued because it is a wild grown tea produced by members of the H’mong ethnic group. Vietnamese teas are not super common here in the U.S. and there are a lot of misconceptions about them. Multiple vendors have told me that they believe the tea from there to be contaminated due to fallout from the war. Rumors like that are pure poppycock, especially when you consider that Vietnamese leaves are often smuggled to other places such as Taiwan in order to pass it off as a local production.
Rakkasan Tea Company did not provide any brewing directions but I tried my best to dial it in. Starting with cooler water is always a good idea, especially for green teas. Wild grown tea can also be a bit rougher and less refined. The taste of this tea was slightly smokey with a comforting nutty note and just a hit of hay-like grassiness. It reminded me quite a bit of some of the Korean teas that I’ve tried from Jeju Island. The mouthfeel was fairly thick for a green tea and while there was some astringency, it was never unpleasant. A minerality quality in the finish lingered on my tongue after each sip.
Have you had a chance to try this tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!