Tea Journey to Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand: Part 3 of 6

Chiang RaiTea Farm

Throughout traveling Chiang Rai and visiting several tea estates, one stands out as being a spectacle. On approach the facade of the plantation is a steep hill with almost perfect rows of tea plants. Mounted on one of the tea field summit are large Hollywood style letters spelling out the plantation’s name. After parking near large buses we were quickly corralled to the tasting room to watch a 3 minute movie about tea making, short tasting and shuffled on through to the gift shop. We were intrigued by the news of a large tea infused menu in their cafe, so we ventured on. On the roof there were newly built overlook platforms which made wonderful snapshot locations that the crowds of tourists took advantage of.

Tea Infused Pastries Tea Farm SideA short walk and several pictures later we were diving into deep fried tea leaves with a chili and vinegar sauce, sweet and spicy chicken wings topped with crispy fried tea leaves, pork dumplings and fresh tea salad and a green tea sweet bun. The deep fried tea leaves were fantastic. The coating was not greasy but just as light as the tea tip contents. The fresh tea salad was a welcoming sight and the flavor was like any other tossed salad. The flavor of pork and chicken meat in Thailand is fantastic. The freshness of old world style raising allows true flavors to remain present that American livestock has lost.  These dishes were as good than those found outside the estate. The deserts were just as diverse and flavorful. They included green tea cheese cake, green tea lava cake, green tea crape layer cake, Thai tea cake and green tea honey toast. The green tea cheese cake was by far the group winner.

Chiang Rai is steeped in history since it was founded over 750 years ago. Many traditions remain unique to this northern most city, but a newer attraction called Wat Rong Khun or the White temple is the most popular. The temple is on grounds that are the play land of Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipt. For 20 years, he has been constructing an intricate White Temple along with other beautiful buildings. The basis of the artistic architecture is an exaggerated traditional Buddhist temple with a healthy dose of morality and afterlife themes. The lavish grounds continue with a large koi fish filled reflecting pond, flowering lattice shaded walkways and the most expansive bathroom I’ve ever been in.White Temple Chiang Rai2White Temple Chiang Rai

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Tea Spotlight for Valentine’s Day

Tea for Two, Two for Tea. What could be more romantic than sharing a steaming pot of tea with

Tea Gift Box

your loved one? This Valentine’s Day, let’s flout convention. Let’s forget the fancy wine, ditch the bottle of bubbly, and set our kettles boiling. Tea warms hearts and melds spirits. Sharing a teapot and filling each other’s cups are intimate acts of understated elegance, echoing centuries of ceremony.

In the spotlight this month are two Short and Stout teas ideal for celebrating Valentine’s Day, be they for sharing with a significant other or simply to enjoy solo. (Let us not forget the importance of self-love.)

Midnight Rose Black Tea

First Whiff: Pure potpourri. Strong, floral, and heady.

Prep: Add 2 tsp per 8 oz of boiling water. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes.

First Sip: True to its name, this tea tastes like a rose garden. Black tea makes an ideal base for rosehip and rose petal, rounding out the floral tones and lending a fragrant, full-bodied flavor. Some sippers may deem Midnight Rose too rosy for their tastebuds, in which case, sweetener should help temper the intensity. Take it to the next level with a touch of milk or cream.

Champagne Fizz White Tea

First Whiff: Enticing and sweet, with hints of grape.

Prep: Add 1.5 tsp per 8 oz of hot (175-degree) water. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes.

First Sip: So light! So airy! This white tea provides the perfect contrast to darker, headier Midnight Rose. Berry and floral notes mingle in perfect harmony. For strongest flavor, steep for the full five minutes. Delightful by itself or with honey.

 

Midnight Rose, Champagne Fizz, and more are available for purchase in pre-wrapped Valentine’s gift boxes at our tea lounge. Add a selection of our tasty French macarons, and you have yourself the perfect Tea for Two.

This Valentine’s Day, all you need is love…and a cup of tea.

 

TEA

I like pouring your tea, lifting
the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.

Or when you’re away, or at work,
I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.

I like the questions – sugar? – milk? –
and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.

Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,

as the women harvest the slopes
for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.

― Carol Ann Duffy

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