The Authentic Vietnamese Tea Ceremony in Halong Bay
Vietnam is a beautiful S-shaped country in Southeast Asia with a rich culture and historical background. We are home to some of the best tea in the world but few people know it. As the top ten tea producer in the World, Vietnam is a paradise of tea with distinctive tea culture.
Thai Nguyen is located in the Northeast region of Hanoi. It is famous for producing the finest quality of green tea throughout Vietnam. The special flavor of Thai Nguyen tea is believed to be a mixture of slightly acid soil and cool climate in the highland. Another area that possesses the biggest tea plantation in Vietnam is Lam Dong Province. Lam Dong is the first place to apply biotechnologies to make tea products and pioneers in sustainable tourism.
Types of Vietnamese tea
Tea is considered to be one of the oldest beverages in the world. The Vietnamese have been enjoying tea for over 3000 years. Now, tea has become a part of our culture. It’s consumed everywhere from daily life to wedding ceremony and celebrations. There are many types of Vietnamese tea, each with its unique taste, aroma, and processing method. Tea types can be narrowed down to three main categories: green tea, plain black tea, and scented tea.
Green tea can be found widely, not only in highland areas but also in the family backyard. It can be enjoyed after being harvested without wilting or oxidization. Making tea is so easy which makes it loved by many Vietnamese. Without any preservative or addictive, green tea can maintain a pure and natural flavor.
Plain black tea is different from green tea because it needs to go through several processes such as withering, oxidizing, and drying. It is the level of oxidation that gives it a dark brown color and rich taste.
Scented tea is the tea which infuses slowly with natural scents like flowers, spices, or herbs. Making this tea is very time-consuming because it needs to take at least two to three weeks for the tea to truly absorb the scent. A typical Vietnamese scented tea is lotus tea in which the tea leaves are picked before dawn and wrapped inside lotus leaves in five consecutive weeks.
Vietnamese Tea Ceremony
Halong Bay is a perfect place to create the memory of a lifetime. And what else can be more unique is to attend a Vietnamese tea ceremony amidst ranges of karsts and limestone mountains with The Au Co. It is ensured guests will have the most magical experience!
To make a perfect cup of tea, it is important to use a ceramic tea set because it can keep the tea hot for a much longer time. Depending on seasons, different types of tea cups are used. In Winter, the rim of the cup should be in the same size as the bottom so it doesn’t lose heat. In contrast, the summer teacup has a larger rim, so the heat can cool down quickly. Therefore, you should choose the cup that fits in the palm of your hand. It is suggested that you always use clean and fresh water instead of reusing the already boiled water. If the water is boiled too many times, the oxygen will be removed, spoiling the tea flavor.
The tea ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m, on the last day of The Au Co’s itinerary so everyone can appreciate the incredible view while savoring the tea. As everyone gathers, it’s time to make some tea. When the water reaches boiling point, the tea presenter will turn off the heat for a few minutes to let the temperature drop to 80 or 90 degrees Celsius. Pouring the water gently into an empty teapot and cups to get rid of the dirt and warm them up. After that, the pot and cups will be empty again.
Next, the tea presenter will put one to two teaspoons of dried tea leaves inside the pot, which is then filled with hot water and covered. The purpose of this step is to remove any dirt on the dried tea so the water will be poured out of the pot and cups as well.
The tea presenter pours in the hot water with the dried tea leaves remained inside the pot. Next, more hot water will be poured over the pot so it could be heated from both inside and out. After 2-3 minutes, the tea is thoroughly brewed to perfection and ready to be served to the guests on board.
At the tea ceremony, you’ll be served both tea and sweet treats. This pairing will enhance the flavor and give you a pleasant experience.
One of the keys to enjoying the tea ceremony is to use all of your senses. During the ceremony, you can see the beauty of the light brown color and the clarity of the liquid. Whatever more important is your initial impression with the brewed tea, that’s why you should take a deep breath and enjoy the uplifting aroma. The wonderful taste and scent make you wanting to yearn.
In Vietnam, it is a courtesy to serve tea to the oldest one first to show respect and politeness. It can be said that the Vietnamese tea ceremony is not only art but also rooted deeply in our culture.