In a meet-up series of online gatherings a friend in Vietnam passed on a lot of input about her family making trial versions of white, compressed black, and "witch's broom" style versions of sheng. This blog post collects photos and descriptions related to that.
It's a lot to unpack. They have a relatively deep history with tea, not so much with production, but with meeting producers, selling tea, and various forms of ceremonial practices. Fresh tea leaves are grown where they live, which is 200 kilometers outside of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), so those were available.
The "witch's broom" style and compressed black require a little more explanation. I've reviewed two versions of the former; the idea is that sheng--not "pu'er," exactly, but it would be if it was from Yunnan--is bundled versus left loose or compressed. One of those versions they rolled and let oxidize a little, just not enough to turn it into a black tea, so it was prepared in a hybrid style.
The compressed black version is different; as far as I know that doesn't really map onto any conventional Vietnamese tea style. Then again tea is so diverse in Vietnam maybe I've just not got to that yet. Of what I am familiar with it might be closest to a variation of Korean dok-cha, and they even roasted the tea chunk a bit prior to brewing it, as is performed with this Korean tea.
The post goes into the rest, the photos, a little on tea types, and plenty on processing parameters. It's thin on the flavors-list type of review; Huyen (that friend) passed on some aspect feedback in those video meeting discussions but I didn't take notes, and only collected photos and processing details from her later. It's enough; there are other reviews cited for some comparable Vietnamese tea versions. Also how these turned out could relate to where they would make adjustments in future experiments, instead of to final potential of the type in relation to the leaf source used.
http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... aking.html