REVIEW: What-Cha – Vietnam 2007 Wild ‘Dark Forest’ Dark Tea


Tea and origin: Fermented black tea from Cao Ba, Ha Giang Province, Vietnam
Twitter: @What_Cha_Tea
Facebook: What-Cha
Link to Dark Forest

This tea comes from wild growing trees in Ha Giang province that are between 200 and 800 years old. Ha Giang province shares a border with Yunnan province, China. ‘Dark Forest’ is made by using similar techniques to a cooked puerh, with the exception that the leaves are left to ferment over years, not fully dried.

‘Dark Forest’ is just one of eight Vietnamese teas that What-Cha just stocked. You can buy each tea individually or you can try a taster pack. What-Cha has sourced this tea through Geoff Hopkins of Hatvala. Geoff is an expert on Vietnamese teas and is constantly travelling around the around the country looking to source the best teas.

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: The dry leaf consists of broken leaves that have a cedar wood aroma

Infused tea: Like the dry leaf, the aroma and flavour of the liquor is dominated by woody notes. The body of the tea has wet wood and cedar wood notes, and some spicy undertones. As you work your way through the infusions, the tea maintains the same flavour profile and the colour of the liquor stays light brown with a red tinge. It is a full-bodied tea, although it has very little astringency. The aftertaste of the liqour is a long-lasting woody flavour

Infusion tips: Before drinking the first infusion, give the tea a quick wash. I prefer to prepare dark teas/puerh teas gong fu style. I used three grams of tea with 150ml at 100C water and infused the tea for 30 seconds, 45 seconds, one minutes and one and half minutes. You will get numerous infusions out of this tea using gong fu style. You can prepare it western style by using a teapot and infusing the leaves for two to three minutes. Try getting two infusions using western style preparation

Comments: I think this is a very good everyday dark tea. It offers loads of flavour, and you can infuse it numerous times. This tea does not offer the complexity and sweetness that you might find in some cooked puerh teas (especially more aged ones), but cooked puerh fans might want to give this tea a try to see how it stacks up to their favourite everyday shou

Retail price: 10 grams for £1.65 / 50 gram for £6.00 / 100 grams for £11.04


About teaxplorer

I grew up in the Midwest of the US and was introduced to tea at a very young age - unsweetened iced tea, that is! It was not until my early 20s, when I was seeking a lighter alternative to coffee, that I took tea drinking to a new level. I still remember my mother suggesting that I try putting milk in a cup of black tea (something that actually sounded a bit repulsive at the time, but I gave it a go). I quickly became tired of supermarket tea and started ordering teas from shops and companies all over the US. Throughout my 20s and now into my early 30s, pursuits in higher education studies, work opportunities and marriage have given me opportunities to live in the UK, Canada and Germany and travel around the world, which has sparked an even greater interest in tea and the culture of tea. This blog is my outlet to discuss my love of tea and show off some of my photos. All images and opinions on this blog are my own, unless stated otherwise. I retain copyright on all photographs, but please do not hesitate to contact me at if you wish to reproduce any of my images. Likewise, if you would like me to review and photograph any teas for you, please get in touch. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I hope you return many times! Happy drinking! Drew B (@teaxplorer)
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