Spotted: tea growing in Thailand.
Most of the tea is grown north in Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle (the mountain areas overlapping Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand). There are also small patches of wild tea trees scattered in the mountains of Chiang Mai. These trees are uncultivated, with leaves turned into tea just for fun by families who operate other businesses on the land.
Doi Inthanon (in Chiang Mai) is the highest mountain in Thailand.
It was there one lucky morning where we met a family who happened to have one of those tea trees. Just one.
We sat for a snack of sticky rice and chicken smeared with chili pepper paste. I peeked inside the makeshift kitchen area and saw what looked like processed tea leaves.
Could it be???
The woman nodded and led me to the back of the home. There it was. One wild (and very tall) tea tree.
The single tree doesn’t produce enough to make tea a viable commercial business, so they make tea just for fun.
Most tea produced in Thailand is oolong (planted and harvested with assistance from the Taiwanese….more on a future post!), but this family processes the leaves as a green tea.
Nothing fancy or glamourous…but enchanting? No doubt.
We brewed the tea in a giant pot with hot water (how crazy is that kettle) and drank it in tiny espresso cups.
After a few rounds, the owner brought out a little bowl bowl of salt. She proceeded to mix a spoonful of salt into the tea, to clean the blood and cleanse the body. Salted tea!
And then it was time for lunch ^-^