SHAN TUYET SUOI GIANG TEA, YEN BAI
Japan has Way of Tea, China has King Tea and Vietnamese people have the tradition of drinking fresh tea which has been lasted from long time ago to the early XXI Century. Taking about Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea, Yen Bai, they normally think about the source of tea trees. The tea specialist of Xoviet – Rector K.M. Djemmukhatze of Soviet Academy of sciences said about Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea that “I have traveled through 120 countries with tea production in the world and I have never seen as old as the tree in Suoi Giang, whether this is the ancestor of tea trees? Tea here is very unique, the a bowl of green tea has fully 18 bitter tastes of the tea in the world”
Soil and climate conditions
Located at the altitude of from 1,400 to 2,200 m above the seawater level with the temperate climate and average annual temperature of above 20oC and covered with fog all year round, Suoi Giang is cool in all four seasons with the stone mountain to create the completely different taste for Suoi Giang Tea which can not be found in any other place.
Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea is the wild ancient tea, the tea trees are low with large canopy, tea leaves are thick, large and dark green, tea buds are as big as banian buds, tea leaves are covered with a layer of fuzz as snow. Tea tree here grows naturally in the pure and clean environment and has the age of from 100 to 400 years old.
One of the special thing to create the difference of Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea, Yen Bai is the tea processing secret. The materials are selected carefully from harvesting, the tea of type 1 is processed from materials of 1 bud, type 2 is 1 bud and 1 leave and type 3 is 1 bud and 2 leaves. Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea is taken care and exploited by Mong people. The more special thing is that the tea is harvested at about 4:00 to 4:30 morning when the morning dews are still on the fresh tea buds and tea buds are picked up gently to ensure the best quality and the dews on the buds.
After harvesting, tea leaves are carefully selected and only perfect buds which are not too young or too old are selected for drying.
Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea, Yen Bai is processed meticulously. Wood used for drying tea must be completely dried. When drying, the people will use their bare hands to test the temperature of the hot pan to ensure the most suitable flame. Then, tea is crumpled up by hands carefully to keep the best flavor and the white fuzz on tea buds. The finished products are tea buds as small as green beans and covered with white snow dots bearing the essence of the West-North mountainous region.
Suoi Giang Tea water has the honey-yellow color, pure flavor, deep taste, pure water, when pouring into the cup, there is a layer of water steam as smoke and the sweet taste of the tea remains very long in the tongue after drinking.
Cultural value of Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea
From Suoi Giang, Shan Tuyet Tea is taken to everywhere and well-known as a speciality. However, if once visit this place and together with Mong people to enjoy Shan Tuyet tea here, you will fully understand the cultural value of the local people.
Mong people in Suoi Giang Ancient Tea Region think that tea is a panacea and they call tea tree Sua Zie in which SUa means medicine tree, zie means tea. Among ancient Shan Tuyet tea regions today, only Mong people in Suoi Giang has the typical cultural habit of worshiping tea at the first season of the new year. The worshiping ceremony is carried out right under the tree of the oldest tree of 400 years old. The person who carries out the rituals has to meet all criteria of: old age, good ethnics, righteousness and generosity and fluent at Quan Hoa language – the ancient language of Mong people and today only few people can speak to worship the god. After preparing the altar, the sorcerer will use a decoration paper symbolized for gold and silver and beseech the God, then he will deliver wine, offerings including boiled chicken, steamed glutinous rice for the local people to eat and prepare for a new tea season of good productivity:
“Chè Suối Giàng nay bốn vụ đều
Mùa xuân lông tuyết búp non thêu
Trông như loáng bạc trên sườn núi
Ngắt lộc, cô Mèo vòng bạc đeo”
It can be said that the value of Suoi Giang Tea is not only in the special taste and flavor of a drink but also the remaining of the time, the essence of the earth and the Mong people here, therefore the more you drink, the more you will feel and love the affection and soul of Suoi Giang mountain and forest in Yen Bai.
By Son Nguyen