The product of bamboo shoots of the tea tree

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Lam Phong – Thanh Nien Newspaper

     With only 5 grams of tea, eight people drank diligently through the 20th and 25th brew, yet the tea flavour was still passionate; the drink was magical. That is bamboo shoots, a product that nature favours for Vietnamese land.

Starting from the 2018 winter tea crop, the wild tea-makers of the high mountains of Ha Giang shared a strange tea with a bud-shaped, elongated, young finger, intense when mixed with the scent of orchids; the smell of roses is full of charm and is called by all kinds of names, from the popular name with bud tea, sprout tea, to the regal luxury with dragon claws, dragon tail, red flower dragon tea in the market.

Lá cây trà cổ thụ

As an ancient prehistoric tree, many moss and lichens cling to the trunk of the bamboo shoots.

The mystery of bamboo shoots

In the 1990s, when entangled in “tea revelation”, the source of documents about tea at that time was very meagre; the monograph on tea looking forward to reading was Tra Kinh, a work detailing many details about the first tea. The world’s foremost fairy was written by Luc Vu – the world’s deity of tea – in the 8th century in the Tang Dynasty. Talking about Vietnamese tea in our country, but lingering through Tra Kinh from China, also for the same reason, in the Upper Book of Tra Kinh, when describing the origin of the tea tree, Luc Vu wrote:

“The southern region’s tea hands, the most rustic family members, the second chains, the ten chains of books and the ten chains. Ky Ba Son, Hiep Xuyen are both friendly and protective”.

(Translation: Tea – a precious tree in the south, the trunk is one cubit tall – equivalent to 33.33 cm – two cubits, up to a few dozen. In Ba Son, Hiep Xuyen, two people can hug the tree).

When the time was engulfed in the chaos of An Su from 755 to 763, Luc Vu hid in Zhejiang – the east coast of China – wrote the Tra Kinh. According to the instructions, the southern tea region, as described, must be the ancient tea strip today, including China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Burma. And now, in Vietnam, it is not difficult to find old tea areas where trees are more significant than a hug; many cannot be counted throughout the East-Northwest arc in Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau…

In another description, also in the upper volume of Tra Kinh, Luc Vu wrote: “… Da Thu Thuong, Vien Thu Thu, Duong Nhai Am Lam, Tu Thu Thuong, Luc Thu Thu, Duan Thu Thuong, Nha Thu Thu…”.

(Translation: The best wild tea, garden tea, is a by-product. Good tea grows on a steep mountainside hidden in the forest. Purple tea is best; green is inferior. Bamboo shoots are best; cheap tea buds).

The description of “Duan Thu Thuong” – the best bamboo shoot dish – is complicated and confusing; The writer has asked many seniors gifted with tea, archaeologists, and calligraphers in the Chinese community about bud tea, but I have not found the answer.

Sản vật măng trà

Green bamboo shoot tea with the feature of the longest buds among the tea shoots found.

Worthy of a national treasure

Over time, we also do not forget the story of bamboo shoots – shrimp – Dinh tea until the market bursts with dragon tail tea. During the trip to Hoang Su Phi on the occasion of the 2019 autumn tea ceremony, where tea makers, scientists, and researchers from all over the world converge, fortunately, the writer met Tu Tien Sinh, who is a Taiwan, now almost 70 years old, with a traditional tea business, has passed its sixth generation. After a few days of gossiping about tea after drinking, he pulled out his phone and showed a single-page photo. In the first volume of Luc Vu’s book Tra Kinh, colourize the passage “Duan Thu Thuong”, then ask if you know what bamboo shoots are.?

After that, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a few shoots of bamboo shoots, full of joy and said: “This is worthy of being a national treasure of Vietnam”. The person facing him was dumbfounded; after many years of collecting tea, travelling throughout the tea region of Vietnam, even Southeast Asian countries, making documentaries about the history of Ma Co Dao in Yunnan and visiting the tea museums in Lijiang town, he had never heard of bamboo shoots, even more, dare not think that bamboo shoots, as described by Luc Vu, are correct.

Chế biến măng trà

Bamboo shoots have just been harvested from the forest, starting to wither.

Experience in processing bamboo shoots with a scent when finished, that is, using the technique of drying and incubation, entirely by natural methods, completely without the intervention of temperature or drying when watering in the tea less than 7% is complete. In the endothelium, the content of amino acids, catechins, and ECCG compounds (a type of natural polyphenols in tea) is higher than that of black tea and industrial green tea but much lower than that of ancient Shan Tuyet tea.

Two samples of green and purple bamboo shoots surveyed by the Vietnam Tea Association in 2020 showed that the number of catechins in purple bamboo shoot tea was 0.05, green bamboo shoots 0.34 when Shan Tuyet Ta Xua tea > 7, Tua tea Chua(Dien Bien)> 10. EGCG in purple bamboo shoots is 1.08; green bamboo shoots are 2.72; EGCG in old Shan tea ranges from 5-9.

Tea buds are like bamboo shoots, small bamboo shoots. When asked to know, Tu Tien Sinh has been quietly learning about tea plants in Hoang Su Phi since 2011. He and the villagers heard that where there is a big tea tree, they come to; Were there a strange type of tea they will pick and process it. Bamboo shoots were also discovered during hikes in the mountains. “Vietnam is holding a treasure,” he said. The bamboo shoots I found in Ha Giang are the same as described in Tra Kinh”.

He also excitedly showed more photos of tea during his survey trips and affirmed: “In Hoang Su Phi, Tay Con Linh, tea has many types, not two types, from white, purple, blue, and black bamboo shoots. , yellow, red … each type when processed produces a different line”.

Then we became tea friends and often followed him into the ancient forests of Chieu Lau Thi and Tay Con Linh in search of tea. From that, it is understood that the bamboo growing area is always at an altitude of approximately 1,500m above sea level; with dense fog and large rocks, bamboo shoots grow naturally there. It feels like bamboo shoots were left in the forest hundreds, thousands of years ago. The populations of ancient trees growing close together, worthy of two hugs, were covered with moss, over 30m high in the forests of Nam Ty, Hoang Su Phi. Bamboo shoots only grow in winter; The more severe the weather, the colder it is, and the better the quality of tea that year.

Many times going to the mountain to find raw materials for production, and experiment with processing bud tea from harvest to completion; it takes a whole month. The tea buds are tightly closed. If the tea is allowed to dry out and evaporate quickly, the aroma will also be lost; If the tea is allowed to dry slowly, the tea will retain water and ferment. Drinking through the 3rd – 4th water will taste sour, and the aroma will fade. Picking bamboo shoots is difficult – usually, a person who goes to the forest to pick bamboo shoots all day can only get about 200g of bamboo shoots – processing this speciality is even more elaborate.

The most prominent advantage of bamboo shoots is the aroma. Each line of tea and each turn of water exudes a complex and indescribable fragrance. Purple bamboo shoot tea has the scent of roses, white bamboo shoot tea with prominent aromas of ylang-ylang, green bamboo shoots, yellow, red, and black and the smell of ripe fruit and incense. Tea can be mixed with water without loss of taste. Show good tea-making skills. A trial of brewing bamboo shoot tea for three days with 30 turns of water, the scent still lingers; it is a miracle of nature. Bamboo shoots tea is now found by many people who love to enjoy tea. All bamboo shoot species were discovered in the regions of Ha Giang, such as Quan Ba, Tay Con Linh, Hoang Su Phi, and then in Lai Chau with Mo Si San and Ta Leng.

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