My love for Pandan tea started in 2018 on my first trip to Vietnam. I left on a plane from Boston and landed in Hanoi 30 hours later, where I was meeting up with ~25 strangers so we could all travel South East Asia together for four months (for those of you who know it, we were with Remote Year – Rumi).
It was a trip that would change my life in more ways than one.
Expanding my love for travel, new forever friendships, my love and partner in life, and my love for Pandan.
It was our first week there and with all that jet lag, my friend Andrew and I were ready for a reset and a massage was the perfect way to do so. We stepped out of our apartments and the two of us jumped on the back of a single “Grab” motorbike – the driver definitely didn’t know what to do with us or himself :) The streets were bustling, and the traffic was playing this amazing and careful dance that was. chaotic and synchronous all in the same. After navigating our way through the small alleys and past sidewalk kitchens with families selling fresh fish and bright-colored fruits and veggies, we arrived at Sen Spa. It was as if I’d left one world and stepped into another. The calming scent of lavender, the dark wood-paneled walls, and the sweet Vietnamese women who invited us in to take a seat immediately put us at ease.
As we sat down and placed our shoes in a hand-woven basket, we were given a cool cup of the most delicious tea I’d ever had. After visiting the spa many times – mostly for the tea – I finally worked up the nerve to ask about it. At this point, we knew the people working there pretty well and they laughed at my wonder for the tea, but they entertained me anyway and brought out the bag for me to take a picture. They of course then explained that while this tea was new to me, the main ingredient in the tea (pandan) was a common ingredient not just in Vietnam, but in many other parts of Asia.
Flash forward three years, several eBay purchases, and countless trips to Asian markets with the hopes of
finding this wonder-tea in the US, that I finally decided to turn this love affair with Pandan tea into something more.
It was on that Friday night during COVID, just chilling on our couch in Arvada, CO that Pandan Tea Leaf was born.