Our traditional Chiang Rai Black tea got a holiday twist that we hope you'll revisit throughout the year. We barrel aged the leaves for a year with rum from longtime partner Seven Caves Spirits, a San Diego-based small-batch distillery. The result? Accentuated black cherry notes, plus hints of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and toffee.
- Origin: San Diego, CA (rum), Chiang Rai, Thailand (tea)
- Varietal: Assam
- Artisans: Amy Truong (blend), Geoff Longenecker (Seven Caves), Ammy (tea)
- Harvest Date: Spring 2021
Ingredients: black tea, rum
Limited quantity. Only 50 made.
Caffeine level: high
Quite the uncommon tea. The rum flavor is definitely there, and really amplifies the tea. Even without the rum barrel, the Chiang Rai seems to take very well to a little aging. I taste definite spice (cinnamon, cloves, etc. from the rum), a sharp sweetness close to a reduced honey, and range of black tea notes (malty, toffee etc.). The only downside is I’ve noticed the flavor flags quickly on repeat steeps, and requires a great deal of leaves to maximize that unique flavor. After trying a number of times the best settings I found (gong fu style here) are: 185 F, 5 g leaf/100 mL water, short rinse, 35 sec first infusion, +15 sec each subsequent. I get around 3 before it’s attenuated past my liking. A few attempts at brewing it Western style proved not to my liking, and for a tea as refined (and pricey) as this I feel it worthwhile to only brew it gong fu (higher heat capacity in particular; clay, stoneware, etc). I’d definitely recommend giving it a try for special occasions, but be prepared to use substantially more leaf to get the fullest experience.