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How is tea traditionally grown and processed?

Vietnam, with its rich history and tradition in tea cultivation, follows a number of traditional methods to produce high quality tea. From careful hand picking to artful processing, the traditional techniques reflect Vietnamese culture's deep connection to tea.

Hand picking

  • Tea cultivation in Vietnam begins with the careful hand-picking of the tea leaves. The experienced tea pickers usually only select the young leaves and buds as they offer the highest quality. This is usually done early in the morning to preserve the freshness and aroma of the leaves.

Which ones

  • After harvesting, the tea leaves are laid out to wither. This process, which can take place in either sun or shade, reduces the moisture content of the leaves and prepares them for further processing. Withering is crucial for the development of flavors in tea.

Rolls and shapes

  • The leaves are then rolled or shaped to break down the cell walls and promote oxidation. This method varies depending on the type of tea. In green tea, this step is minimized to limit oxidation, while in oolong and black tea it is more intense.

Oxidation and fermentation

  • Oxidation is a key process, particularly in the production of oolong and black tea. The leaves are exposed to air in a controlled manner, resulting in a chemical reaction that affects the color and aroma of the tea. Green tea is typically heated quickly to stop oxidation and preserve the green color.

dry

  • After the desired oxidation has been achieved, the tea leaves are dried. This can be done in special drying ovens or under direct sunlight. Drying stops oxidation and stabilizes the flavors of the tea.

Sorting and packing

  • After drying, the leaves are sorted and classified according to quality. They are then packaged for storage or sale.

The traditional methods of tea cultivation and processing in Vietnam have developed over generations and are deeply rooted in the country's culture and traditions. These techniques help create the unique flavors and qualities of Vietnamese tea that make it popular worldwide.

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