by Cynthia Fazekas
On day five we awake from our night with the Dao People and are greeted by amazing views of cloud enshrouded mountains and drifting mists. We gather on the terrace to take in the view, enjoy some tea and breakfast as our time with our hosts draws to a close.
Our van doesn't make the hairpin turn to go further up the mountain and we have to bail out so to lighten the load. After a few minutes of tire spinning and some transmission abuse, we climb back in and get on our way.
Eventually, the road becomes impassable by van. By foot, we climb further and find our way up to another gorgeous grove of wild tea trees.
These trees range from just sprouted to 300 years old. New trees grow from wherever their seeds have fallen or rolled. Like the other trees we saw, these have companions such as moss on their expressive branches. After some time here, we make the trek back to the van and then to the tea factory that belongs to the family that own this grove.
There are two tasting tables set for us and we enjoy some rounds of white, then red tea (here they name it by the color of infusion so black tea.) this family has some especially fruit noted white tea. They say it is not ready so we don't get to taste it but their other white was a lovely super light "frost tea" harvested in the frosty months. Quite delicate with soft hints of fruit.
Of course, if we could stay all day with them we would but we must get to the village center, settle in our hotel, and meet with local officials. Tomorrow we attend the opening ceremonies of the Vietnam Tea Masters Cup in the morning.
She began her tea career with Special Teas in 1999, handling varying roles in the fledgling company, including customer service, operations, office and sales management, and tea tasting. Her evolving responsibilities grew to include blending and QC not only for Special Teas, but also for its eventual sister company Teavana in the pre-Starbucks days.
She joined Adagio Teas in 2007 as a wholesale sales manager and currently also has the responsibilities of tea buyer and master blender for this industry pioneer. Her continuing tenure with Adagio has enabled her to deepen her passion for specialty tea with trips to origin and exploring tea trends worldwide.