Snow Shan Viet tea in Taiwan

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Nguyen Dinh – Thanh Nien Newspaper

     Going to Taiwan to learn about tea, tea master Luu Van Phuong invited red tea. I was surprised by the strange taste and even more surprised to know that this unique product is from Vietnam.

Theo dấu trà Shan

Tea person Ly Chi Linh (Taiwan), Au Lo tea group, calm down before the show, and make tea for guests.

Unexpectedly, Taiwan is the “capital” of tea, famous worldwide for its Oolong tea lines, oriental beauty, and red tea soaked in honey… Vietnamese ancient tea can enter this world because it is the source. Clean tea is an excellent tea tree over a hundred years old. Two factors seem simple but are not easy to find in today’s world tea market.

Play ancient Vietnamese tea

Not noisy or flashy, Taiwanese tea lovers have many ancient Vietnamese tea tunes. Each group of associations and individuals have their style of choosing a tea product line. Au Lo tea group with a tea-drinking style focusing on the spirit, taking tea as a guide, using the technique of daily training of tea people to intentionally bring the tea drinker into the space – state – emotion.

Tea Master Luu Van Phuong shared: “Depending on each tea ceremony and the guests attending, I will choose the appropriate tea. Everyone in Taiwan drinks tea, especially red tea. Our market also has a lot of favourite red tea products. Still, the old Vietnamese red tea has a clear difference, which can be felt from the first sip because the tea’s content is solid, and the aftertaste is long. This product is suitable for formal, quiet, and enjoyable tea sessions. Take a sip of tea, slowly let the aroma – purity spread, and bring moments of balance through the tea ceremony.”

Sitting in a meticulously decorated tea room, paying attention to every little detail, the tea-drinking story is led by tea-making tools crafted by Taichung artist Lai Dinh Dang, accompanied by a classical guitar by the artist. Artist Truong Nha Tue performs and enjoys old Vietnamese red tea. The tea people, Ly Chi Linh and Tong Tin Hoa, leisurely manipulated the tea to the rhythm of the ancient lute. Through each tea week, tea monk Luu Van Phuong acts as a narrator, sharing details about teapots, tea-making techniques, music and the origin of tea. Enjoying a cup of Vietnamese red tea in a faraway place, imbued with sincerity, is like wrapping the whole world in just one cup.

Ha Giang ancient Shan Tuyet tea makes premium red tea because it has the highest sweetness in the old teas of Vietnam. Deep sweetness, rich, rich aftertaste, acrid taste, laxative after drinking but then feeling a bit dry throat. According to the experience of drinking dry tea, the red colour is due to the solids inside the tea. Typically, only ancient Shan Tuyet tea can achieve this aftertaste. Mr Quach Minh Huy, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the Ha Giang tea region in terms of red tea, revealed: “Now that the market has perfect technique, they can also create a dry aftertaste to deceive consumers. Therefore, to distinguish the real from the fake – one must wait and see if it can be mixed many times. “Fake ancient tea” is pressing incense, pushing the taste by technique, only mixing up to three water is used by hand. Squeeze tea will be soft, ancient tea; if you brew strong, you have to mix up to six water; if you usually drink more than ten water, the tea residue after brewing is still rich; that’s the sweet tea.”

Trà Shan Việt ở xứ Đài

Tea-pressed cake with 100% ancient tea from the Quan Ba area (Ha Giang), now sold in Kaohsiung (Taiwan).

Contributing to raising the level of Vietnamese tea

A familiar figure among Taiwanese who love and promote Vietnamese tea is Mr Diep Quoc Hoa, Chairman of the Kaohsiung Calligraphy Association. At the association’s headquarters, next to the space to display great and parallel paintings, it is not difficult to recognize the ancient tea cakes with ingredients from Quan Ba (Ha Giang). Diep Quoc Hoa said it is Ha Giang white tea line with a non-heat processing method, retaining the fresh smell, gentle aroma, and deep sweetness. This type of tea from Taiwan and mainland China is called White Peony.

Mr Diep proudly boasted: “Last July, I brought some ancient Ha Giang white tea to Xiamen, Phuoc Kien (China) to present to two leaders who are very knowledgeable about the city’s tea. At the first sip, they said that this was good tea. Add water two and three to more than ten, but the water’s colour and the tea’s quality have not decreased. You know Taiwan’s Cao Son Oolong tea must go through the fourth country, and nothing is left. The two leaders also said they used to drink white tea with ingredients from Vietnam, but it was imported to Yunnan to be remanufactured into high-class tea.

Regarding the habit of drinking tea, Mr Diep shared: “My family often drinks pressed tea. I own a lot of ancient Vietnamese tea cakes. The old Vietnamese white tea is also my favourite, every time I meet friends, do business exchanges, and sign contracts, I bring white tea to customers.

In Taipei, Tu Quoc An’s family has six generations of oolong tea making, but he now spends a lot of time in Vietnam helping the Vietnamese develop ancient tea production techniques. At the international tea fair in Shenzhen (China) at the end of 2019, Mr Tu helped the Vietnam Tea Association introduce the product line of tea bamboo shoots from the Ho Thau – Ha Giang region, which resonated at the fair not only because of the price, very expensive (70 million VND/kg) but also because of the beautiful aroma of the ancient tea material discovered two years ago under Chieu Lau Thi and Tay Con Linh peaks.

Talking about Vietnam’s ancient tea industry, Mr Tu shared: “This is a precious, clean, and very healthy material that is being exploited indiscriminately. I find it too wasteful. I produce oolong tea myself. The ingredients of Taiwan or Vietnam are the same, but for ancient tea, I approached the tea trees in Tay Con Linh, the body is the size of three or four people, and it took three days to arrive in the forest. It is only in Vietnam that such precious tea trees and areas of such precious tea still exist.”

The quality of ancient Vietnamese tea

Tea collectors and tea lovers from Kaohsiung to Taichung in every family have a tea corner to receive guests. Looking at the tea corner, it is possible to partly guess the class and affluence of the owner through the collection of stacked trays of tea cakes. The older the tea cake, the more valuable it is. When guests visit, the owner will take special tea cakes from rare tea regions or tea cakes with a high age of 15-20 years or more to receive guests. And it is not difficult to see that in most of these tea collections, ancient tea cakes originate from Vietnam.

Ancient tea collector Viet Dang Tuan Nghieu, living in Cao Hung, said: “I have known old Vietnamese tea for more than 20 years because of its good quality, good taste, and reasonable price. Vietnamese ancient tea processing techniques are not inferior to those of Taiwan’s longtime tea makers, especially white tea and red tea lines.

The influence of Shan Viet tea

In the Asia-Pacific Tea Competition in China in 2019, white tea products (the raw materials of ancient Shan tea in Ta Xua, Son La) surpassed 412 tea samples from significant powers. World tea producers such as China, India, Sri Lanka, and Japan won the silver award (no gold) for today’s most influential tea.

The same year, the international tea competition took place in Paris – France, organized by the Association of World Agricultural Products in France (AVPA) for businesses with excellent products worldwide. With 128 tea samples from 17 countries, May tea products (green tea, ancient Shan Tuyet line) of the Northwest Tea and Specialties Company won the bronze prize.

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