Mae Taeng, situated in Thailand's Chiang Mai Province, is renowned for its tea cultivation. The region's tea plantations have a rich history that dates back many centuries. It is believed that tea was introduced to Mae Taeng by ancient migrations of ethnic groups from Xishuangbanna, Yunnan and Myanmar in the 13th Century. These early settlers brought with them their knowledge and expertise in tea cultivation, which laid the foundation for the development of the tea industry in the region. The regions hill tribes still keep the old traditions of making fermented pickled tea and preserve the ancient tea tree forests while constantly planting new gardens from old seeds.
In the 20th Century , tea seeds from Assam, India were introduced to the area and widely cultivated by Rishi Tea’s partner’s grandfather. Later , Lipton and Unilever introduced tea bushes from Kenya and Sri Lanka . Overall , this area has a diverse range of ancient tea and specialized assam varieties very suitable from black tea and puer tea .
Over time, Mae Taeng became known for producing high-quality organic tea. The region's unique terroir, which refers to the environmental factors that influence tea cultivation, plays a significant role in the tea's special quality. Two prominent mountains in the area, Doi Chiangdao and Doi Luang, contribute to this unique terroir.
Doi Chiangdao is known for its remote and rugged terrain, with an elevation of approximately 2,195 meters. The mountain's pristine environment, cool climate, and rich soil create ideal conditions for growing tea. The altitude and temperature fluctuations contribute to the slow growth of tea leaves, which results in a more complex and nuanced flavor profile.
Doi Luang, with its elevation of around 2,225 meters, also contributes to the distinct characteristics of Mae Taeng tea. The mountain's remoteness and natural surroundings ensure minimal pollution and interference, allowing the tea plants to thrive in a clean and pure environment. This pristine setting, combined with the region's fertile soil and ample rainfall, contributes to the exceptional quality and flavor of the organic tea produced in this area.
The unique combination of terroir, remoteness, and natural conditions in Doi Chiangdao and Doi Luang plays a vital role in shaping the special quality of the organic tea from Mae Taeng. It is these factors that have helped establish the region's reputation for producing some of Thailand's finest organic teas.