|Developed during the late 12th century in Japan, tea enjoyment has become a typical feature in the culture of the land of the rising sun. From simple tea drinking, Japanese people studied the way of drinking tea and tea etiquette until it became an art. In the past years, this art has been introduced to Vietnam and has been quickly received by young people. Nowadays, it has been developed as a new trend. In Hanoi, there are many tea shops with new styles, meticulously combining Japanese tea enjoyment with Vietnamese teas to become a Vietnamese tradition.
The art of ancient Vietnamese tea drinking is summarised in two idioms: “First water, second tea, third cup, forth jar, five mates” and “alcohol should be drunk slowly but tea should be drunk immediately”. It means that once poured, tea must be drunk immediately so that you can feel its heat, its fragrance and its full taste. You should hold the cup of tea in your hands, slowly sip the tea and enjoy the tea with your soul and with your senses. A deliciouscup of tea shakes human intimate feelingsgently and in harmony with the sky and earth.
In the noisy urban atmosphere, Hanoians now like going to quiet tea shops to enjoy this elegant pleasure. At these tea shops, each room has wooden furniture for guests. Tea drinking is very suitable for groups of 3 – 4 people who need a quiet space to talk.
Nguyen Viet Bac, owner of a tea shop in Hanoi and a tea lover said “I told my pupils that if they want to drink Moc Thanh tea, they must pick the oldest tea leaves from the tree. For Hong Boi tea, made from O Long tea buds grown mainly in Bao Loc (Lam Dong), its buds are more special. On an O Long tree in particular and other trees in general, there are green aphids. These buds have been attacked fiercely by the insects, which make these buds special. For example, its vitamins will be different and such buds will be fermented even when they are still on the trees.”
Some special types of Vietnamese tea, made mainly from O Long tea buds.
The art of enjoying tea by the Vietnamese people is summarised in a saying:
First water, second tea, third cup, forth jar, five mates.
Hanoians use a jar (or tea pot) based on the type of tea and the way to enjoy it.
Jars and bottles contain water for brewing tea.
A common cup is often small.
Some tea sets include a pot, big cup and a small cup to enjoy tea.
Tools for scooping tea buds into the pot for brewing are very special.
A space for enjoying tea of Hanoians.