When speaking of the art of drinking tea, people often think of Japan and China – two countries with an age-old tea culture.
However, in other countries with similar cultures, such as in Vietnam, the art of drinking tea has also been long established.
“Tea is a special form of art.” Starting from the soil, growing with mountain air, sun, mist, wind and water until the leaves are ready to harvest to make a good tea; this is a long journey of art. In Vietnam, tea has been present from the 10th Century and the art of drinking tea has become its own culture.
Tea is the beverage of choice to serve guests in Vietnamese families. Not too fussy, as the Japanese tea ceremony, Vietnamese tea tasting is equally elegant and graceful. From urban to rural areas, green tea, teapots and little cups are something quite familiar to all Vietnamese people. In the past, drinking tea was a frugal hobby, and also a form of gathering between different generations. Gradually, tea became a means of communication; an opening for encounters and communication with relatives, friends and partners. Tea is like a ritual exchange between social strata, irrespective of religion, belief or social background.
Vietnam has different kinds of tea plants and the quality of tea is varied in different regions. The tea hills in North Vietnam’s Central Highlands produce quite a unique taste, such as Thai Nguyen and Phu Tho tea, while the Southern area has Da Lat and Bao Loc tea. In particular, the ancient Shan Tuyet tea from Ha Giang province grows naturally on high mountains at heights of 800 to 1300 m. To thrive in the harsh climate, the tea buds rise to full capacity to receive every drop of sunlight. All of that creates the very special taste of Shan Tuyet, making many visitors fall in love with it.
As the rhythm of life becomes more dynamic and modern, we desire even more to find the beauty and sheer simplicity of tea. Many restaurants in Vietnam offer tea tasting services. There are often small rooms, warm and quiet, served by waiters dressed in ancient costumes. In a tiny tea cup, tea lovers can have a mixed taste of sour and bitter tea with the smell of liquorice or jujube’s sweet candy. Even the first taste is already enough for any soul to feel consciously relaxed.