About tea culture in Vietnam
Vietnam is a beautiful country rich in tea traditions. Many tea lovers say that Vietnamese tea has a wonderful and exotic taste due to its tropical and fruity notes. Tea culture in Vietnam is based around ancient ceremonies for growing and drinking tea. Vietnamese people believe that tea leaves are healthy and good for the immune system. Tea is consumed every day in every Vietnamese house.
Although the Vietnamese have enjoyed tea for thousands of years, mass production was started in the 19th century by French colonists. They established the first tea plantations near Hanoi in the north-east of the country. Nowadays, Vietnam is the seventh largest exporter globally, producing many sorts of loose-leaf tea. As well as big plantations, the most valuable tea trees and gourmet tea trees are traditionally grown locally on small farms.
The importance of tea for the Vietnamese
Drinking tea at home gatherings is important for Vietnamese people and refusing to accept a cup of tea may be perceived as a sign of disrespect to the owner of the house. A cup of tea is the best way to reduce tension and anxiety, so the Vietnamese often drink it at official events and meetings. Despite the widespread use and importance of tea in everyday Vietnamese life, drinking tea is not a formal event, as in China and Japan, but more relaxed.
Traditional tea brewing
Tea is brewed from fresh tea leaves. The Vietnamese recipe is simple: crumple some fresh leaves in a pot, pour in boiling water and leave for half an hour to allow the tea leaves to release their wonderful flavour.
Another popular way of making tea is to use a lotus flower, which is a sacred flower in Vietnam and an emblem of the country. In the evening before the lotus flower has closed, a few tea leaves are poured inside it. Overnight, the lotus absorbs the full flavour of the tea. The flower is then dried and used to brew a beautiful green tea.
Finally, Vietnamese people often scent their tea ware before a tea session starts by placing flowers near the cups and teapot. When it is time to drink the tea, they cover the teapot and cups with the flowers to allow the beautiful flower notes to permeate into the tableware.
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