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A Celadon Cup of Raming Tea

The name of Siam Celadon Tea House is a strong marriage of two different businesses. The Wangwiwat couple, Khun Nit and Khun Penpun, years ago bought the property next to the 103 year old Mae Kha canal that crosses Thapae Road. This historical area has always been the busy commercial section of the city. They renovated the house since August 2003. The 90 year old white cream mansion with European motif has a front showroom displaying celadon products which their family has produced for many years. The interior of the house has a hall with attractive teak floor in the middle and coupled with a high ceiling that is breezy all the time without air-conditioning. The back section is a tea corner arranged in a charming setting where customers enjoy delicious bakery items enticingly presented. Each piece is about 50-60 Baht. The selection of tea of course is "RAMING" brand name, the family's tea business started in 1956 by Khun Penpun's father, Mr. Prasit Poomchusee.

The tea house offers teas such as Black, Green, Chinese and Seaweed tea served cold or hot that costs about 30-50 Baht per cup. The courtyard behind the mansion is very attractive garden landscaped with tall trees, bushes and grass. Visitors to the tea house greatly enjoy browsing for celadon and tea products often with a tea cup in hand.

In February 2004, an education tour for leading mass media from both Bangkok and Chiangmai visited the tea shop and the Raming Tea Plantation in Chiang Dao. The theme of the trip was Real Taste-Real Time. The press members were certainly glad to get out of Bangkok to enjoy Chiangmai's well known northern culture, the northern lifestyle of inner city and rural areas combined with agriculture vistas.

After the reporters enjoyed their tea and cake selections in the Siam Celadon Tea House garden, Khun Nit spoke briefly about the hard work required to renovate this historical property and the forthcoming recognition by the municipal government as Chiangmai's Heritage and Preservation site.

The introduction of tea varieties and their benefits of drinking were the topics of Mr. Jakarin Wangwiwat, Khun Nit's son. His presentation also covered testing of tea leaves as well as methods of tasting. A game was held among the media who were blindfolded to identify prepared cups of tea by taste and aroma. After the light fun, the press were taken to a garden restaurant for lunch.

The Raming Tea Plantation is about 8 kilometers before Chiang Dao or at KM. 61 on Route 107. A stop was made at Baan Paang Huay Talad a Muser hilltribe village. About 20 Muser housewives performed a musical dance as a greeting ceremony for the media. The women wore their handmade jackets with attached silver beads. These jackets were 1,200 to 1,500 Baht in value, thus, only worn for visitors and at holiday time. This village has 485 residents who raise tea on their land and they work on other fields.

It was only one half kilometer in distance to the Raming Tea Company's residence. A second fun game was organized for a walk rally from the hilltribe village to the residence. About 40 press members were divided into 3 teams of different colors. It was about 5 p.m. when they reached the tents.

After a brief rest, the factual presentation of tea began around 5.30 pm. as the day was slowly changing into a cool evening with a full moon appearing overhead. The group was enthralled with the amazing history of tea that President Nit Wangwiwat had compiled from different legends and historical records starting with Chinese History from the year 780. As of 1191, Tea has grown all over Japan. The British love of tea influenced expansion in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia up until the present day.

The serious discussion completed, it was time for Bar-B-Q dinner, singing, and over night camping. Thick jackets and blankets were needed throughout the night in the cool mountain top setting. Most sat around the large campfire for warmth and camaraderie until the early morning. After an early morning breakfast and phototaking, it was the time to say good-bye to the "Raming Tea" kingdom. On the way back to the city, the group stopped at the Mae Tamaan tourism spot for the Bangkokians to learn firsthand about oxcart-riding, elephant safari, and bamboo rafting.

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