Although you may initially associate Vietnam with its iconic iced coffee, there is in fact a huge range of herbal teas available. Many of these are picked within the country and you can even go on tea tours to go and see the process of the picking, storing etc.
Depending on your interest in teas, you can purchase the pure high quality tea (these are the prices quoted) or the more manufactured versions which you can purchase very cheaply (between 30,000 VND and 90,000 VND) in supermarkets. If you are unsure whether you would like the taste, it is recommended that you try the cheap supermarket type first to see and if you enjoy the taste then you can splash out on the more superior experience of purchasing the pure leaves.
Green tea is extremely popular in Vietnam and is often offered at places whilst you are waiting e.g. the garage. It is cultivated in regions such as Moc Chau and Thai Nguyen. The best green tea in Vietnam is believed to be “Suoi Giang” green tea. With a fresh and slightly sweet taste, this tea is often handpicked from wild trees at high altitudes meaning that the price is higher than the normal green tea with a price of about 150,000 to 300,000 VND per 100 grams, depending on the quality. Typically this tea is found in speciality tea shops
Green tea is extremely popular in Vietnam and is often offered at places whilst you are waiting e.g. the garage
Lotus tea is in fact a combination of lotus flowers with high-quality green tea leaves. The process involves placing fresh lotus blossoms alongside tea leaves, allowing the leaves to absorb the aroma. Lotus tea is good for fatigue as well as brain function, reportedly increasing memory. You can purchase this delicacy from traditional markets or artisanal tea houses. Prices may range from 200,000 to 500,000 VND per 100 grams.
Lotus tea is in fact a combination of lotus flowers with high-quality green tea leaves
Originating from the northern province of Ha Giang, It is said to be good for the heart as well as weight loss. Oolong tea is characterized by its partially fermented leaves. Oolong tea is so popular that there is even a manufactured drink which is available locally. Prices can vary, with mid-range options ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 VND per 100 grams.
Oolong tea is very popular in Vietnam with there even being a manufactured tea drink locally available.
This is an economical tea, with a strong smell and taste. It is drunk for its relaxing benefits as well as being an antioxidant. It is made by layering green tea leaves with jasmine flowers and can be found in most local markets. Prices are often affordable, ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 VND per 100 grams.
Jasmine tea has a wonderful aroma
Artichoke tea is a tea that you may have never heard of – however, it apparently is very good for indigestion and corresponding aspects such as bloating, heartburn, and nausea. Artichokes contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus, so these great aspects are included in the tea which is crafted from the dried and ground roots of artichoke plants. While it may not be as common as other teas, you can find it in health food stores or speciality tea shops. Prices may vary, but a 100-gram package typically ranges from 100,000 to 200,000 VND.
Although this may seem an unusual tea, artichoke tea is very good for you
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Vietnamese Black Tea
Vietnamese black tea, hailing from regions like Bao Loc and Lam Dong, offers a robust and rich flavour. It is believed to boost energy and help focus. As with all the teas outlined, lower quality teas can be found already boxed in supermarkets, however, if you are looking for the pure variety then in local markets or specialty tea shops you can purchase the pure Vietnamese black teas for about 100,000 to 300,000 VND per 100 grams, depending on the grade and origin.
Vietnamese black tea is a strong tea
Brewing and Pouring Technique
Traditionally in Vietnam, tea is made using a gaiwan or teapot.
Firstly, you warm the gaiwan by adding freshly boiled water (and then pouring it out)
There are precise steps to making and pouring teas using a gaiwan.
Next you add freshly boiled water to the teacups (and remove)
Add your tea to your taste to the gaiwan.
For some teas (e.g. oolong) it is recommended that you “awaken” the leaves by pouring in enough hot water to just cover the leaves, then immediately discard.
After the tea has been awakened, then slowly pour freshly boiled water over the rinsed leaves until covered with water, just below the rim of the gaiwan.
Add the lid of the gaiwan – you are trying to create a seal (so that the aromas are locked in) so you are looking for the water level to be slightly above the lid.
Traditionally the tea is not poured from the gaiwan but from a serving jug – so you decant from the gaiwan by keeping your thumb and middle finger on the rim while securing the lid with the index finger. Using a swift motion, tilt gaiwan forward and slightly inward to decant it into a serving jug.
You then pour into cups using the serving jug.
Overall, Vietnam’s diverse tea culture offers a tantalizing exploration of flavours and aromas. Whether you simply stick with the cheap and cheerful supermarket teas or branch out into the handpicked varieties, you will be able to enjoy a diverse range of teas within Vietnam.