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12/05/2021

Enjoying Vietnamese Tea… in the 4.0 Era

Drinking tea in a busy life!
Everyone in the 4.0 era is often perceived as bursting with enthusiasm to become an entrepreneur, doing business, being occupied with office work, taking their children to school and taking care of housework. People often complain that this kind of life is too hectic, that sometimes they forget to breathe, let alone leisurely drink a cup of tea.
In fact, brewing tea has a variety of flexible methods that can be suitable for any situation. For example, for those who work in offices, factories, supermarkets, trading at the markets or even drivers, they can make bottles of cold tea for instant refreshment.
To make cold tea: Use a 500 ml water bottle. Add cool boiled water or filtered bottled water suitable for tea including brands such as Aquafina, IonLife, Sapuwa, Vinh Hao... Do not use mineral water, as it will distort the flavor of the tea. Next, add 5-7 grams of oolong tea (the precious Ancient Snow Shan teas, Thai Nguyen tea, Thiet Quan Am, Long Tinh ...) to the water bottle. If you are using a 1,000–1,500 ml water bottle, then use about 10-15 grams of tea. Once you’ve added the tea, place the water bottle in the refrigerator and allow the tea to steep for 45-60 minutes. During that time, the flavor of the tea be drawn out and blend into the water, creating a delicious, cool and pleasant taste.

Cold tea can be made the night before so that the next morning, you can bring a refreshing flavored tea with you to work. For more meticulous people, you can strain out the leaves for a purer and more attractive bottle. In case there is no refrigerator in your office or workplace, you can make cooled down tea according to the instructions above. This means you can use a 500 ml bottle of water and add 5-7grams of tea, shake and let stand for about 45 minutes for a delicious bottle of tea that holds its fragrance to the last sip.
Tea has many health benefits, which has been proven by many medical studies. Its uses include preventing cancer, reducing the effects of aging, removing excess fat and toxins, heat-relief, keeping the mind alert, bolstering the immune system, extending longevity... It is also important to understand that tea is divided into many categories and subcategories, suitable for each age and physical condition.
The category of green tea and “thanh tra” includes oolong, Thai Nguyen, ancient Northwest (Shan Tuyet), Mao Phong, Long Tinh, Thiet Quan Am, Bich Loa Xuan... These types are rich in tannins which keeps the mind alert, lucid, and helps to cool down. Green teas are best in the morning or before 5 pm to avoid staying awake at night. This category of tea is less suitable for women, or those with low blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or anyone not familiar with drinking green tea.
The category of red, fermented, royal teas includes red oolong, ancient red, phoenix Dan Cong oolong, ancient tea “in a tube,” Bai Mudan, Da Hong Pao, Wuyi, Jin Jun Mei... This category of tea can be consumed all day and is suitable for all ages thanks to its aroma, light taste and digestive support. These varieties are especially rosy, yellow-brown and amber in color.
Floral and herbal tea categories include chrysanthemum, rose, jasmine, grapefruit, wolf, sweet osmanthus, lotus, honeysuckle, cinnamon, ginseng, morning glory, gurmar, wild maracuja… Preferred by women for its light flavors, this category of teas can bring freshness to every season. This category is also preferred for its disease prevention, as well as longevity.
It’s easy to imagine that busy people consume a lot of energy. Take time to recharge the body's energy with the above-mentioned categories of tea and with the help of the methods for making cold or cooled down tea, drinking tea can be simple, anytime and anywhere. Usually, whatever you make on your own will be more interesting and exciting, not forgetting to mention that drinking tea depends mostly on individual taste, and everyone has their own brewing “tricks” for the prefect cup of tea.

Drink tea to find yourself
It is no coincidence that Vietnamese tea drinking culture has been preserved through generations and dates back to over a thousand years ago. During the Ly dynasty, Zen Master Vien Chieu wrote these two verses: 
Seeing you off for thousands of miles
Handing you a teapot with a smile
The image of a Zen Master presenting a traveler with a teapot before embarking on their journey implies that, in the chaos of life, we aren’t always aware of where we are and what we are doing. It is the teapot that helps to create the bridge back to reality, to find ourselves content alongside a peaceful cup of tea.
In modern times, one of the people who has helped to revive the tea drinking culture of Vietnam is Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. The light and profound Zen atmosphere of the tea sessions by the Zen Master from the Plum Village Monastery are expressed through the following verses of Zen meditation:
This cup of tea in my two hands
Mindfulness held perfectly
My mind and body dwell
In the very here and now
These four short, easy-to-remember and easy-to-recite verses contain and secrets of Eastern Tea Meditation. Drinking tea is one of the methods of mindfulness meditation, also known as the meditation that focuses on joyfulness and living in the present moment. While drinking tea, we must be aware of the cup of tea held in our hands respectfully, then enjoy the tea attentively to let the body and mind unite with the cup of tea. Extending the idea from the Zen poem of Master Thich Nhat Hanh, if we cannot drink tea, we can use medicinal teas, flower buds, or even drink water, but with the attention and awareness of “now and here,” that moment will be enriched with peace and happiness.
If we look closely, we can see that the busier life becomes, the more people seek to return to reality. Imagine, in a 24-hour day how much time we spend taking care of our own body, eating well and making our appearance more attractive. Meanwhile, the mind is almost always neglected, which leads to modern diseases such as stress, stroke, obesity, gout, heart disease... We starve the mind until it’s too late to realize our mistake and the damage caused. Therefore, over the past five years, the trends of living green, clean, slowly, and mindfully have found positive reception in the business and social communities.
According to one observation, during the period between 2015-2019, dozens of Tea Meditation Clubs (for example, Let’s Drink Tea group, Vietnamese Tea and Calligraphy Cultural Heritage Association, Loving Tea and Teapot group…) were established across the country, proving that the tea drinking tradition has been revived. The revival of the tea-drinking culture is evidenced by the combination of tea meditation and vegetarianism; tea and calligraphy; tea and books; tea and Ayurvedic, yoga; tea and Feng Shui; tea and music therapy...
 

The revival of the tea-drinking culture is evidenced by the combination of tea meditation and vegetarianism; tea and calligraphy; tea and books; tea and Ayurvedic, yoga; tea and Feng Shui; tea and music therapy...

Tea culture has not only developed as a short-term movement, but has also become a practical means that many young people see as a market opportunity to seize on and start a business. Over the past 8 years, many tea shops, teapot and tea accessories shops (all kinds of tea making tools) from North to South, and the whole Central Highlands region have been rapidly increasing as fast as mushrooms after the rain. In 2012 there were only about 20-30 tea shops nationwide, by the end of 2019, there will be nearly 200 shops.
The exponentially increasing tea business has been compared to the real estate boom a few years ago by savvy tea collectors. As such, the competition to find the top talent in Vietnamese tea preparation (the Tea Masters Cup) has been organized by the Vietnam Tea Association for the fourth year (2019), generating an exceptionally beneficial playground, attracting hundreds of young tea lovers from across the country to take part in the talent show.
That is to say, the atmosphere of the tea drinking culture in the 4.0 era is not slow at all. The slow, profound way in which each person takes care of their presence is a source of joyfulness that can open up many business opportunities in the trends of of green living, clean living and mindfulness.

Operating as a non-profit, the Let’s Drink Tea group in Ho Chi Minh City, founded by former journalist Uyen Vien, has entered its fifth year and currently has over 4,200 domestic and foreign members participating on its Facebook channel. On average, every two months, the group organizes an activity with a different theme.
01. Combine drinking tea and music
02. Enjoy tea in the early morning
03. Korean students learn about Vietnamese tea culture
04. The 4th Tea Masters Cup competition – 2019 held in Ha Giang
05. Brewing tea is also an art

Texts and photos: Pho Tam (founder of the Let’s Drink Tea group)

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