Tea of the week – Sarawak Tea

Sarawak tea in packetSource: Sarawak, Malaysia. I was there earlier in the year to visit family, and picked some of this up while there. It’s grown there, in the rainforest.

Cost: I paid RM2.50 (approx 50p) for the 110g size bag (loose leaf).

Ethics: Unknown. Although given that it seems to be the same company that grows and packs and exports the tea, that’s probably a good sign, right?


Tea packet - brewing instructions

Brewing instructions: 3-5 minutes with nearly-boiling water, a teaspoonful of leaves per mug. The leaves are in small pieces  so quicker brewing may also be possible, but I think the correct way to drink this is with lots of milk and sugar.

Appearance: Pretty unexceptional – brown, tea-ish.

Nose: there is something distinctive about this tea, which I can’t quite put my finger on. While brewing, it smells slightly … mossy? There’s something. When brewed and after milk has been added, it smells slightly spiced – although there aren’t any spices.

Taste: Without milk: I think I could learn to like this. It’s a little bit astringent, but not necessarily in an unpleasant way … I can imagine this becoming an acquired taste, similar to how I found Pu Erh tea when I first started drinking it. I think that’s a fairly good comparison – it is just tea, but there’s something different about it. Although in this case I assume it’s the location of growth rather than the processing that makes the difference.

brewed tea

Mmmm, milky sugary tea

With milk and sugar: oooh. More of a guilty pleasure than a fine dining experience, but still. In Kuching (the part of Sarawak I was in), the default mode is to have coffee and tea (kopi and teh) loaded up with milk and sugar – so I can’t help thinking that milk and 2 sugars is the ideal way to have this. Sweet, milky, strong tea with a hint of – something. Rainforest?

Food match:  roti canai (another Malaysian specialty) – fried flatbread usually served with a very small dish of dahl/curry.

breakfast table at the hotel

Breakfast the morning before our final flight out - roti canai at the far side of the table. This is at the Pan Pacific hotel at KLIA which is a lovely lovely place, though we were only there for about 8 hours.

Overall, I quite like this tea, although it’s more of a nostalgia/that’s-interesting-type thing than a “this is lovely tea” type thing. Also, mmmmm, roti canai. (Anyone know of anywhere you can get it in the UK?)

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