Leaf Type: Oolong, Jin Xuan with natural flavouring.
Where to Buy: Siam Tee
Cha Khao Hom Thai Rice Tea Premium – 100% natural scented Jin Xuan oolong tea;Exclusive Thai tea specialty from Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand; harmonious combination of high-quality Thai Jin Xuan oolong tea and natural flavor dispensers “Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye” (= “sweet fragrance rice tender leaves”).
Learn more about this tea here.
Firstly; I need everyone to bare with me while I do this review. Truth be told I’m out of my comfort zone with this tea but it sounds so wonderfully unique that I have to try it. That means I need to learn as I go, which will hopefully be passed onto you wonderful people.
When it comes to Thai tea I think about Oolong and fruity tasting black/red tea. Well this is an Oolong, Jin Xuan as it states on the description but it’s flavoured with a herb to give it a rice flavour. This herb is fairly common throughout Asia and it is noted to being translated from Chinese to English as “sticky rice” herb. A quick search has shown me that the Chinese name for this herb is Nuo Dao Gen. As well as “sticky rice” it is also commonly translated as “Glutinous Rice”. The part of the plant that is most commonly used is the root and it is said to be very helpful with night sweats and hormonal issues. Another few searches later and I find that this root is very commonly used in Asian food and it is not known to have any side effects, so fear not if you are disliking the idea of taking a random herb.
Some of this information became familiar, I have tried a Pu Erh before which claimed to be ‘glutinous rice’ flavour. It was a while ago and I remember the rice being lost against the strong Sheng. But alas, this version is an Oolong base which frankly I find super exciting!
It’s time to open the packet and reveal this mysterious wonder. As soon as the bag is open enough for me to stick in my nose I inhale deeply. First thoughts? “Woah that is ricey”. It’s sweet and toasted but the rice scent is remarkable. A part of me wants to eat it….
In appearance it looks like some normal Jin Xuan Oolong. The pieces are an assortment of small, medium and large sizes with shiny green and dark brown colours on the leaves.
This tea comes in two different grades: Classic and Premium. I dove straight into the premium end and honestly, so far I am happy with the scent and appearance enough to agree the leaves are indeed Premium. If you want more information on this tea including a comparison on the two grades then Siam Tee has a great article on their blog here.
This is the steeping instructions as taken from the sales page:
For the preparation we recommend pouring from 3.5 to 5 grams of tea- “pearl” with 85 ° C – 90 ° C hot water and a steeping time of 2-3 minutes in a first Infusion.
That sounds good to me, I’m actually thankful this was helpful enough to guide me with steeping information.
Just pouring in the water created a beautiful rice aroma that was strong enough to fill my kitchen and living room. Wow, it’s making me salivate!
Once steeped a yellow tea liquid is produced with the aforementioned rice aroma. If someone were to blindfold me and ask me to guess what it was by scent I would say it was a bowl of rice. There is also the same sweetness and toasted notes from it’s raw form.
The first few sips are interesting…I can detect a toasted grass, milky, floral Oolong but by it’s side is a sweet yet thickly moreish rice flavour. The after taste is a lingering thick (almost stodgy) rice note that has coated the whole of my tongue. A few more sips and it has an added sour note though honestly it’s not for long. I have noticed a slight dryness however which becomes noticeable in the after taste which frankly feels even more like I’m eating rice.
Ok so as rice heavy as this tastes it still does not take much away from the Jin Xuan base which manages to hold it’s own. This I am pleased with, if you’re going to drink Jin Xuan then you should really be tasting it.
Half a cup in and the dryness has increased again to a point that I have a cotton dry tongue. Not pleasant but the lingering after taste is making up for it. It’s still consistent though in strength and flavour from those first few sips.
Coming into this tea I had little understanding of what to expect, the nearest I could imagine was something similar to Japanese GenMaicha which has toasted rice pieces in. Now post drink I can say it’s very different. GenMaicha is more toasted and bitty where as this is fresh and definitely glutinous. It was strange (to say the least) but still pleasant and even the drying quality didn’t put me off. I can honestly say that I can see myself drinking a lot of this tea in the near future. Worth a try if you are after something new, or an authentic taste of Thailand.