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Tea Tasting in Mae Salong

Oolong Tea Tasting at Wang Put Tan Tea – Mae Salong

Mae Salong is at the heart of tea production in Thailand, its authentic sleepy town feel kept alive by the vast number of tea shops all offering tastings of the produce lining their shelves and their ever growing fields. 

tea tasting in mae salongTea Plantations in Mae Salong

I had thought oolong tea, was just oolong tea before I went to Mae Salong and saw how naive I was.  There are actually many different varieties of these versatile leaves, and Mae Salong is a great place to head for a tea tasting session and pick your favorite before buying some of the high quality oolong teas available. 

tea tasting in mae salongWalking through the tea fields

We had been for a walk through the tea plantations before we came across Wang Put Tan Tea, set on the ground floor of a newly built Chinese style pagoda building, away from the main town and out on its own, overlooking the tea fields, the perfect location for a tea shop.

tea tasting in mae salongWang Put Tan Tea Shop

We entered the shop to a friendly and enthusiastic greeting from the young woman behind the counter and an even friendlier welcome from her excitable husky dog, Rocky. 

tea tasting in mae salongRocky the Husky –  cool eyes! 

We made ourselves comfortable in the row of chairs as the tea tasting began. A plate of complimentary crackers and jam was presented to us before we began sampling the teas. 

tea tasting in mae salongA friendly welcome 

We started off the tasting with the lightest freshest tasting oolong first, followed by 4 more varieties leading us up to the strongest blend to finish.  We then tried our favorite choice coupled with additional rose buds to give a hint of fragrant florals to the tea.  I love rose tea on its own anyway, but had never thought to add it to my oolong leaves, the resulting tea was delicious, it gave it some extra depth and transformed the oolong in a good and pleasing way.

tea tasting in mae salongReady for the tastings 

During the tasting we were shown the correct way to drink oolong tea in tiny ceramic mugs.  Hot water is first poured into a cylinder shaped cup before being poured out, then the tea is put inside, a small mug is then placed over the top before its turned upside down for you to then release the cylinder cup and let the hot tea pour into the small mug which is now underneath. 

tea tasting in mae salongJ enjoy some tea

Tradition has it that you would then use the cylinder to warm your hands in the winter.  This process of drinking the tea in these tiny mugs gets repeated many times, until you have had enough or the tea runs out. 

tea tasting in mae salongBoiling the water 

I love that there’s such an intricate process to tea drinking here and the simple task of making some tea is made an event out of.  I could imagine families sitting around the fire heating up their tea and warming their hands on the mugs as they share a pot of oolong as well as sharing stories from their day as they drink.

In England, tea is thought of as being a big thing as well, yet not in the same genuine, clean way. 
In England, tea is often the first thing many households make in the morning, or when they get home from a long day, tea is the solution to many a problem, you have some bad news, you better put the kettle on.  Tea is regularly offered when you go to a person’s house, friend, family or stranger as a simple gesture of human kindness. 
Yet the majority of the tea we drink in England is barely recognizable as real tea.  In fact it is so far from the tea that nature intended, it may as well be called milky sugar water than tea.  

tea tasting in mae salongOolong tea leaves 

After we have chucked some hot water on our over processed tea bags and covered the taste of the tea with spoons of sugar and milk, all thought of making the tea is gone.  Yet after watching the tea being made here, it seems almost sad that were not more proud of what has become a national treasure in England.  Tea making can be an elegant and almost soothing process. Yet we barely give thought to our tea making or care about the quality of the tea that we drink, even though it has become a country wide habit.   I often find that a good cup of regular traditional English tea is hard to find, but maybe my tastes have just changed after living in Thailand.  

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Wang Put Tan Tea has a very large selection of oolong  tea available , in varying strengths from light and floral to strong and bitter, they also have bags of rose buds and chrysanthemum flower buds to add to the oolong or drink on their own.  

As well as tea, they also stock jars of homemade mulberry jam, bags of dried fruit and tea pots and cups.  

tea tasting in mae salong

The mulberry jam was a clear winner, and everyone who entered the shop while we were there went away with at least one jar each (us included!) It is actually made by the owners friend who runs the small cafe, PooSalong in the town. 

tea tasting in mae salong

The tea tasting session at Wang Put Tan is free and it is a rather pleasant way to spend a half hour before stocking up on your favorite tea leaves.

tea tasting in mae salongWith our purchases 🙂

I bought a bag of the lightest oolong as well as a pack of dried rose buds and a jar of the delicious homemade mulberry jam.  My rose buds are now running rather low and so I feel another trip to Mae Salong coming on very soon! 

Check out Wang Put Tan Tea on Facebook to make sure the shop is open when you want to visit. 

Tea Tasting Mae Salong Map

View Wang Put Tan Tea Mae Salong in a larger map

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