Vietnam has a long history of tea consumption. However, it wasn’t until 1880s that a formalized tea industry was set up in the country. The French established the first cultivated tea gardens while they were ruling a part of Vietnam. By 1945, the French were successful in cultivating more than 33,000 acres of tea farms.
Today, tea is part of everyday life. You’ll see farmers carrying a tea pot with them to work every day. Sipping on the beverage they quench their thirst and believe that tea can ward off several common ailments. Starkly different from their Chinese and Japanese counterparts, the Vietnamese love their teas plain and ‘down to earth’. It is also now part of celebrations, right from weddings to birthdays.
As part of the wedding ritual, Vietnamese have their own tea ceremony. The bride and groom serve tea to their parents and each parent will give advice to the young couple about marriage.
Tea connoisseurs gather in tea houses for a formal ritual. The host boils water in a brazen and waits for it to cool down to 90° before adding tea leaves. The connoisseurs will comment on the aroma while the tea brews. Tea is first poured into a large ‘soldier-cup’ to ensure even distribution of flavors and then into individual cups for tasting. The Vietnamese believe that four words describe the tea drinking experience: Hoa (peace), Kinh (respect for the elderly and friends), Thanh (tranquillity) and Tich (leisure).