canton sticky rice
Bolaven Plateau, Laos
Also known as ‘Silver Cloud’ tea, this rare white tea from southern Laos is grown using organic methods in the rich volcanic soil of the Bolaven plateau. After the young, silvery buds are picked, they are gently withered in the sun and then carefully dried on a hot iron plate. The leaves are then tossed with an aromatic herb native to the region called ‘Nuo Mi Xian’ or Sticky Rice herb, which releases the wonderful aroma of sticky rice when heated.
Ingredients: white tea
This variant is currently sold out.
read the leaves
step 1: leaves
For one cup, measure out 4 grams (around two tsp) into your teapot or brew mug
step 2: water
Heat 250ml of water to 80°C (if you don’t have a thermometer, boil the kettle and leave to cool)
step 3: time
Pour your heated water over the leaves and steep for 3 minutes. Drink.
A sweet, aromatic white tea with delightful notes of pandan leaf, sweetcorn, freshly baked bread, and of course, sticky rice.
The white tea grows in the rich, volcanic soils of the Bolaven Plateau and its unique microclimate. Two nearby waterfalls provide a precious mist that ensures great humidity all year round, creating a full-bodied, succulent mouthfeel.
The tea garden itself is lush and bursting with countless varieties of flowers, animals and insects. This rich biodiversity ensures that the tea bushes are deep-rooted, strong and healthy, which means no irrigation, pesticides or fertilisers are required – and the flavour in the leaf can develop organically. After the tea leaves are withered in the sun to further intensify their flavours, they are lightly toasted on a hot iron plate to bring out their natural sweetness. The young dried leaves are then tossed with an aromatic herb native to this region called ‘Nuo Mi Xian’ or Sticky Rice herb (scientific name Strobilanthes Tonkinensis). When heated, the herb releases the appetising aroma of sticky rice – one of Laos’ staple dishes.
The Bolaven Plateau is situated in the south of Laos, towards the border with Vietnam, and forms part of an ancient volcano that became extinct millions of years ago.
The plateau rises up to about 1300 metres above sea level. The elevation and bowl shape creates a special micro-climate that enables the cultivation of more exotic crops that would usually thrive in cooler climates and/or higher altitudes, such as tea, coffee and even strawberries. Tea and coffee has been grown commercially in this region since the French colonised Laos and cultivated plantations here in the early 1900s. Interestingly, there is no long-standing tradition of tea growing or tea drinking in the area – in fact the early adopters of tea processing in Bolaven were mostly Vietnamese immigrants.
Despite this, our producer Ms Phone (pronounced ‘pawn’) has started to cultivate quite extraordinary teas by using organic and biodynamic farming techniques such as intercropping and the rejection of chemical inputs.
Canton Sticky Rice is a beautiful, beguiling and surprising white tea from the ancient volcano. Harvested in Spring 2021.
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