Vietnam is the 6th biggest tea producer in the world. Although tea was discovered in the country thousands years ago, its production was started only in 1880s, when French colonists established the first Vietnamese tea plantations. Almost all varieties of tea are produced in the country, and usually they are divided into 3 main types: green tea, plain black tea and scented tea.
Where is Vietnamese tea grown and harvested?
Vietnam owns around 124,000 hectares of tea estates, more than 500 tea processing facilities, and nearly 500,000 tons of annual dry tea production capacity. Tea exported from Vietnam is sold to over 70 countries and territories. It is produced in 34 out of 58 Vietnamese provinces. Nearly 75% of the tea is grown in the Northern Midlands and Mountains area, while the rest comes from the North Central area and Highlands. Apart from producing plantation tea, Vietnam produces a lot of exquisite wild grown teas as well. Actually, it’s one of rare countries that pays particular attention to wildly grown tea. One of the most popular wild tea area is situated in Yen Bai region.
It is considered to be the most popular type of tea and one of the national symbols in Vietnam. This tea is the most consumed one all around the country. Vietnam’s soil and climate are quite suitable for growing green tea, that’s why it can be found not only on the plains, but in the highlands and family gardens as well. In comparison with other tea varieties, green tea doesn’t need to be wilted and oxidized: you can brew it freshly right after harvesting leaves from the tree. During the manufacturing process it through fewer steps before it is packaged.
To make a cup of green tea you should infuse dried green tea leaves in water for 5-10 minutes. After that you may notice that the color of water becomes green or light brown. Depending on numerous factors it acquires grass-like, toasted or sweet flavor. Drinking green tea is very beneficial for human health: it helps improving the body’s resistance to different infections.
Plain black tea
Plain black tea comes from the same tree (Camellia sinensis) as the green tea does. But apart from green tea, it goes through oxidization step and is mostly grown in the lowland or complex terrain areas like Thai Nguyen and Tuyen Quang; or highland regions in Lam Dong and Gia Lai. Bushes on which the tea is grown must be almost 1 meter high at full mature before harvesting tea leaves from them.
The processing of this type of tea is carried out the following way: fresh tea buds and leaves are dried naturally before wilting after being carefully picked. Then people will roast the buds and leaves in a pan with a particular level of temperature until the buds begin to curl up and desiccated. After that their color changes from green to black. It seems to be easy and fast process but in fact, it requires special skills and knowledge in order to keep fragrance and not damage buds.
Plain black tea can also be made from Shan tea – a tea plant that is only grown in remote provinces of far North Vietnam. These tea plants, which reach nearly 15 meters in height and 2 meters in diameter, are said to be very ancient. Locals say that in earlier times, trained monkeys were used to collect tea leaves from such high trees. Due to the growing and harvesting features this type of tea is more expensive than many others.
Scented tea is a mix of black tea and different flowers and herbs. The scent of those combined with the bitter taste of black tea creates unique flavor and special aroma. The most famous types of these tea are jasmine and lotus tea, but there are also a lot of others which the Vietnamese widely consume. For example, tea leaves with chrysanthemum and tea buds with soybean flowers also gained great popularity.
Black tea used to make the scented one can’t be completely desiccated after roasting. The tea buds and leaves will be kept in earthen jar, covered with banana leaves and stored in nearly two years to make the taste less bitter and increase the fragrant-absorbed ability of the tea leaves. In order to have one kilogram of lotus tea it is required to pick around 800-1000 lotus flowers. Tea is mixed five to six consecutive times until all the tea leaves are thoroughly soaked up with the purely clean scent of lotus.
All tea varieties mentioned above can be found in our collections of «Farmer’s tea». Follow us to learn more about our products made in Vietnam and the Vietnamese culture!
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