Vietnamese tea culture has existed for a very long time. According to history records, Vietnamese have planted tea in the mountainous midlands since the second half of the first millennium. Until now, tea is still the most elegant pastime of many Vietnamese people. Let's find out more about this special aspect of Vietnamese culture!
I - How many types of Vietnamese tea are there?
In Vietnam, there are 3 popular types of tea. The quality of tea not only depends on the types of tea leaves but also the production process. Each type of tea leaf has different processing methods:
1 - Vietnamese green tea
In Vietnam, this is the oldest type of tea. Fresh tea tastes a bit bitter, a bit acrid, but the more you drink, the sweeter you feel at the end of the tongue. Fresh tea makers need to grasp how to cook to ensure the quality of the tea with a green color, a faint bitter flavor. Fresh tea doesn't need to be boiled for too long as it will cause the antioxidants in the tea leaves like catechins to disappear. The preparation of fresh green tea from Vietnam is also very simple. Use fresh tea leaves just picked from the tree, wash, gently rub and put in a pot and cook over high heat until boiling, then simmer, and boil for 10 minutes.
Thai Nguyen green tea hill - Source: VnExpress
2 - Dried bud tea - a popular type of Vietnamese tea
It is also known as dry tea and is one of the most popular types of tea. To create delicious dried tea leaves, tea makers have to practice a 5-stage process which includes withering, flavoring, killing yeast, crushing tea, and drying. The finished product will have a greenish-yellow color, a rich taste, and a faint scent. For dry tea, the boiled water, the Vietnam teapot, and the way of boiling it greatly affect the taste. Pre-brew tea brewers need to rinse the pot with boiling water first, then put a small amount of tea into the kettle, and then pour hot water about 80°C. Next, you need to cover with the boiling water over the kettle to keep the warm water temperature stable. Then, just wait for 2-3 minutes to enjoy.
3 - Flower-scented & herbal tea
This is one of the very unique types of Vietnamese tea, expressing the ingenuity and sophistication of the Vietnamese people. The combination of the flavor of the tea leaves and the aromas of flowers such as jasmine, lotus, grapefruit, and chrysanthemum creates a very special and unforgettable flavor. Each type of flower will have a different marinade and time to marinate tea to ensure the most typical aroma and flavor.
When it comes to scented tea from Vietnam, the most famous and most special is the lotus tea. Tea-centers will choose high-quality tea leaves and then marinate them in lotus flowers which are multi-layered pink lotus with a characteristic scent that is not available anywhere. Lotus must be picked early in the morning and marinated immediately with tea with the rate of about 15-20 grams of tea per flower then wrapped and placed in the vase. To make the Vietnamese lotus tea more aroma, it should be marinated more than once. Sometimes people marinate up to 5-6 times to get the best result. Lotus tea, after being chilled, must be stored in the freezer to keep the scent longer.
Make lotus tea - Source: Internet
II - Some famous Vietnamese tea houses
Some specialized tea houses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are suitable for those who want to look out at the quiet and tranquil atmosphere in the center of a bustling city. Most of these tea houses serve Vietnamese ancient tea with diverse types of tea such as lotus tea, flower tea. Visiting those tea venues, you have a chance to enjoy the moments of silence & peace and experience tea culture. Some special Vietnamese tea products are available for sale, and it is highly recommended as a Vietnamese specialty to buy and take home.
The price of drinks ranges from 40,000 VND - 70,000 VND/cup of tea.
1 - Tea houses in Hanoi
Tam Tra Quan
- Address: No.51 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem District
- Opening time: 7:30am - 11pm
- Contact: 0936 499 569
Hien Minh Tea & Coffee - special Vietnamese tea house in Hanoi
- Address: No.13 Ngo Tat To Street, Van Mieu Ward, Dong Da district
- Opening time: 8am - 10pm
- Contact: 0936 251 122
- Website: https://www.hienminhtea.com
- Address: Room 301 dormitory, No.2 Tong Dan Street, Ly Thai To Ward, Hoan Kiem district
- Opening time: 8am - 10pm
- Contact: 0888 222 991
2 - In Ho Chi Minh city
Some nice places for enjoying Vietnamese tea in Ho Chi Minh City
- Address: No.58/4 Truong Dinh Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
- Opening time: 9:30am - 9:30pm
- Contact: 098 412 09 18
Villa Royale Antiques & Tea Room
- Address: No.3 Tran Ngoc Dien Street, Thao Dien ward, District 2
- Opening time: 10am - 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday
- Contact: 028 3744 4897
Ky Tra Quan
- Address: No.12 Thich Quang Duc Street, Ward 3, Phu Nhuan District
- Opening time: 9am - 10pm
- Contact: 090 185 23 31
III - The unique Vietnamese tea culture
1 - Imperial tea in Hue
Hue imperial tea used to be a type of tea served in the Hue imperial palace during feudal times. It is prepared according to a specially formulated specialty for kings. The way of choosing the time due to the position of stars to plant the tea, for instance, is also regulated. The ingredients of the tea are also carefully considered and selected to ensure harmony in taste.
Vietnamese tea in Hue is a combination of many precious herbs and flowers to create the diversity of flower herbal teas such as chrysanthemum tea, lotus flower tea, rose tea, artichoke tea Vietnam, rosemary tea,... which are prepared and weighed according to a fixed formula. private. Therefore, this type of tea is not only fragrant, delicious but also like a tonic with the effect of reducing stress, treating insomnia, and being good for the skin.
Imperial tea in Hue - Source: Behance
The way of enjoying imperial tea is also very meticulous and sophisticated. The tea is normally enjoyed in the early morning or late afternoon. The kings used to catch every drop of dew on lotus buds at dawn to use as water to brew tea. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese often used rainwater to increase the sweetness of the best tea in Vietnam.
If you want to make a delicious tea, you must pour the first water, wait 10 minutes for the tea to infuse this time to drink it. Tea drinkers must be calm and relaxed in a cool and elegant space. Served with tea, there are other types of cakes or candies such as green bean cake, areca candy, or sesame seeds,... The bitter taste of tea combined with the sweet taste of traditional candies creates sophistication and irresistible appeal.
You may find it interesting: List of most popular Vietnamese drinks
2 - Folk tea in Vietnam
Folk tea is used to be served during the daily life of Vietnamese people, so there is no specific regulation imposed. The art of drinking tea of Vietnamese people is very flexible, delicate, and simple. It's not too fussy, and ceremonial like the Tra Dao of the Japanese or the turmeric tea of the Chinese. Vietnamese people like to drink green tea which is fresh tea or dry tea rather than red tea, or Vietnamese black tea.
Fresh green tea is a simple & familiar drink for most Vietnamese farmers. Fresh tea leaves are crushed after washing and then put in a pot of freshly boiled water, boiled for about 15 minutes, and then served. Bright yellow and sweet tea can offer you an unforgettable aftertaste. In terms of dry tea, people focus on making tea and enjoying it.
Fresh green tea - Source: Internet
The art of drinking tea of Vietnamese people can be encapsulated in one sentence: “Nhất thủy, nhì trà, tam bôi, tứ bình, ngũ quần anh'' which means "The most important in tea making is water, the second one is tea, the third one is the cup of tea, the fourth one is the teapot and the fifth one is the people who we enjoy the tea with ". Folk tea in Vietnam is prepared in many different ways: boiling, brewing tea with an earthen pot, boiling tea, and brewing as long as it is most convenient. The tools used to make tea are also very simple such as pots, kettles, tanks, earthen pots. The luxurious type of kettle chosen by many people is the terracotta kettle, which helps to retain the fragrance of the tea for longer. A standard Vietnam tea set includes a teapot, a large pouring pot, 6 teacups, and 6 saucers.
Tea is associated with the everyday life of every Vietnamese family. Tea was served in daily meals and has also become a part of Vietnamese custom. On wedding days or important Tet holidays, the host offers guests tea, children also pay tribute to parents by offering tea on special days. Tea is increasingly ingrained in the minds of Vietnamese people, becoming an indispensable custom. Today, tea is one of the precious gifts that people buy for friends, families, or acquaintances.
In Vietnamese culture, tea also has a very high community characteristic. Drinking tea in Vietnam is not only for quenching but also helps people bond together. When guests pay a visit, the homeowner often offers guests tea. When people gather together, they also drink tea while talking. Tea has become a catalyst that brings people together and makes their stories seem to be juicier. Up to now, this custom is still preserved in most Vietnamese families.
3 - Modern Vietnamese tea culture
Nowadays, Tea culture not only inherits the sophistication of the old-time but also contains many innovations to meet the needs of modern life. The culture of drinking fresh tea and dry tea is still maintained, still expressing the simplicity and intimacy of tea and tea drinkers. However, there are also new types of them such as Vietnamese ice tea. Lemon tea is loved by young people because of its convenience, especially on hot summer days. The image of iced tea shops exists in every corner of the city while free iced tea teapots at restaurants have become extremely familiar. The culture of meeting, chatting with a cup of lemon tea, and iced tea has become a part of people's lifestyle.
Lemon tea - Source: Kenh14
In addition to iced tea, black teas, black teas, Vietnam oolong teas, artichokes, kumquat teas, flower teas, and herbal teas are also becoming more and more popular. If the ancients only drank fresh and dried tea, nowadays, teas are becoming more diversified, and suitable for more people. In particular, today's young people are also affected by the trend of drinking milk tea. This type of tea originates from Taiwan with the perfect combination of the bitterness of the tea and the sweetness of the milk creating a wonderful taste.
IV - Interesting to know about Vietnamese tea
1 - Vietnam tea plantation
In Vietnam, tea was grown mainly in three regions: Thai Nguyen province which is famous for Northern tea, Bao Loc district in Lam Dong province which is famous for O Long tea, scented tea, and the northwestern provinces which are famous for ancient Shan teas. Due to the soil and water characteristics as well as the climate of each region, there exist different tastes among them.
In North Vietnam, Thai Nguyen is the largest and most famous tea cultivation region. The Vietnamese tea leaves from Thai Nguyen are small, the finished tea fiber is curved like a hook and has a slightly dark green color with a mild acrid taste that is not found anywhere. The best place to grow Thai Nguyen tea is Tan Cuong which is well-known for high-class fried shrimp tea.
In the northwestern provinces, especially the majestic Hoang Lien Son range, wild ancient tea trees with a lifespan of hundreds of years grow and are exploited entirely by hand by the ethnic minorities. Throughout the Northwestern provinces such as Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Tuyen Quang, there are several rare and unique tea varieties. The natural tea leaves grow on high mountains that are both acrid and sweet, creating famous Vietnam tea brands such as Shan Tuyet tea of Ha Giang, ancient tea of Ta Xua mountain, and so on.
Located 800 meters above sea level, the vast Bao Loc plateau has a temperate climate that is extremely suitable for tea cultivation. Tea trees were first planted there in 1930. Up to now, the farms and tea gardens of thousands of square meters are being expanded day by day. There are many famous types of teas, including Jasmine tea, Sen tea, and oolong.
In addition to the three most famous Vietnam tea production regions, Hanoi is also one of the names mentioned by many tea lovers. Although it is not possible to grow tea, the art of scenting tea in Tay Ho district is famous everywhere. Tay Ho lotus tea is made very sophisticatedly and complicatedly creating a taste that cannot be forgotten.
2 - Topmost famous Vietnam tea brands
Tan Cuong Tea - Thai Nguyen
Tan Cuong tea - Source: Internet
This brand is famous for its appearance, scent, and flavor. And the most famous types in the Tan Cuong are Dinh tea and Non Tom tea. Their leaves are small, have a dark green color. The prices range from 450,000 VND/kilogram (Nonton tea) to 1,000,000 VND/kilogram (Dinh tea).
Shan Tuyet Tea in Ha Giang province - one of the best tea in Vietnam
There are many famous types of tea on high mountains in the provinces of Ha Giang, Son La, and Yen Bai, of which the most notable are the ancient Shan Tuyet tea of Suoi Giang (Yen Bai), Shan Tuyet Tay Con Linh (Ha Giang), Shan Tuyet Ta Xua (Son La). Ancient Shan Tuyet tea tree grows naturally on the mountains at a height of 1200m, the finished tea buds are covered with a snow-white fluff while the tea has white or honey-yellow color. It has a sweet, slightly sweet taste which is also a bit acrid but not bitter. The number of ancient Shan Tuyet trees in Vietnam today is about 80 thousand, so the price of Shan Tuyet Tea is very expensive. The price ranges from 2,000,000 VND/kilogram of tea to 4,000,000 VND/kilogram depending on the types of tree.
Vietnamese lotus tea in West Lake
Lotus tea is the quintessence of the Vietnamese art of enjoying tea and making tea. High-quality tea buds are incubated in the lotus flower creating a quintessential tea with a delicate flavor and aroma. Lotus in West Lake combined with tea bud in Tan Cuong can be considered as a specialty in the Vietnam tea market. The best lotus tea has a price from about 500,000 VND to 2,000,000 VND/kilogram depending on the quality range.
Read more on https://en.tancuongxanh.com
Vietnamese jasmine tea
Lotus jasmine flower tea - Source: Kenh14
Besides lotus tea, jasmine tea is another unique type of tea. With the marinating ratio of 9 tea 1 jasmine, the finished tea still retains the intact Thai Nguyen tea flavor including sweet, acrid, or bitter (depending on the type of tea embryo) combined with the aroma jasmine scent, stimulating not only the sense of smell but also the taste of the drinker. Jasmine tea marinated with Thai Nguyen tea costs about 500,000 VND/kg. Meanwhile, Jasmine tea mixed with ancient Shan Tuyet will have a higher price which is up to more than 1 million dong/kilogram.
Oolong Tea from Vietnam
Vietnamese Oolong Tea products are grown in Moc Chau highland and in Bao Loc tea plantation (Lam Dong). The fresh oolong tea wings are selected and processed with modern technology to keep the highest levels of EGCG antioxidants, Oolong Tea has a slight taste, sweet and cool.
Due to the appropriate soil conditions, the quality of Vietnamese O Long tea is highly appreciated. The price of high-class oolong tea is about 750,000 VND/kilogram.
Vietnam Black tea (Hong Tra)
Black tea - Source: Igor Miske
Vietnamese black tea is made from selected tea buds of over 300 years old Shan Tuyet green tea trees in Suoi Giang. The tea buds picked in the dew will be allowed to wilt indoors by the wind, avoiding direct sunlight. Then half ferment under the effect of heat and humidity to the required level before drying by manual method. Black tea has a mildly sweet taste and is different from green tea.
Vietnamese black tea or Hong tea is less popular inside the country than green tea, but mainly for export. Vietnamese black tea is fermented from the leaves of Shan Tuyet - Ha Giang tea, with prices ranging from 800,000 - 6,800,000 VND/kilogram.
We have already explored the most significant features of the Vietnamese tea culture from the past to the present. Although nowadays, drinking tea and enjoying tea has witnessed several changes, its core values are still preserved. If you come to Vietnam once, do not forget to sip a cup of tea to feel the essence of this special drink.