Hanoians consider enjoying tea is a very frugal pure and noble pleasure. Brewing tea process, therefore, is also very complicated…
According to ancient mixing process, high-quality brown tea was preferred, including Tuyet San tea which is naturally grown up in mountainous areas in Ha Giang province. Tender buds was selected, cleaned and steamed. After air cured, tea was normally reserved in pottery jars or boxes, wrapped by dry banana leaves in 3-4 years. Every kilogram of tea is mixed with 1000-1200 lotus flowers. That is the reason why tea gastronomes were willing to exchange a kilogram of mixed tea with 2-3 taels of gold.
Nowadays, the mixing process is much less complicated. A layer of tea and a thin layer of lotus rice are staggered. The sole top layer is tissue paper. After 18-24 hours, the mixture of tea and lotus rice is separated, tea is then wrapped in moisture-proof bags in order to originally keep both the flavors of lotus and tea. For the next step, tea is dried by air. Amazingly, it is not the last step! Tea producers have to mix tea and lotus rice again for the second, third, forth, or even fifth times. On average, every kilogram of tea needs 1000-1200 lotus flowers also.
Hanoians consider enjoying tea is a very frugal pure and noble pleasure. Brewing tea process, therefore, is also very complicated. The bamboo spoon which is used to get tea from box to teapot is “ngoc diep hoi cung”. Referring the first time of pouring out boiled water into teapot to clean teapot and tea, it is “cao son truong thuy”, and the next time is “ha son nhap thuy”. After “ha son nhap thuy” for 1-2 minutes, the flavor of tea spreads out and it is ready to enjoy. The host pours out tea to a big cup which is called “chen tong” and then shares equally into some smaller cups called “chen quan”. Inviting the visitors by 3 fingers is “tam long gia ngoc”. After looking the beauty of the cup of tea, both host and visitors feel the flavor by breathing in and then drink in mouthfuls.
On the occasion of lunar new year, the old people themselves prepare flowers such as peach blossom, chrysanthemum, apricot blossom and high-quality tea. On the first day of new year, everyone gather, enjoy flowers and tea at the same time, then send best regards to each other.
As you can see, enjoy tea in Vietnam is absolutely different from Western style. Discover it if you can!