VietNamNet Bridge – The Mong ethnic minority group in Van Chan District, the northern province of Yen Bai, has long made a living from local tea trees.
Local roots: Ancient tea trees in Suoi Giang, Van Chan District. — VNA/VNS Photos Tuan Anh
Fired up: Fresh tea leaves are dried in huge woks.
Shan Tuyết tea has large, light grey leaves. One side of the leaf is covered with a thin layer of white fur. Locals call it trà tuyết (snow tea).
The tea has a sweet fragrance and once brewed the tea water has the colour of honey and tastes special. The tea is processed by hand by the Mong and Dao ethnic minority groups.
The ancient tea trees stand on top of a mountain more than 1,000 metres above sea level, covered with clouds all year round. Each tree is a few metres in height with trunks a few metres in diameters. The climate and special soil conditions create a unique taste. The trees are grown naturally, without using any fertiliser.
Every year, in October or around the New Year, local people organise a worship ceremony to thank the heavens, the land and the ancient tea trees, which have brought a steady income for them.
Everyone gathers to prepare for the ceremony. Various contests involving tea processing are organised as well as folk games and local delicacies.
Community event: The ceremony gathers all adults in the village.
Hand-picked: After the ceremony, locals join in a tea picking contest.
Respect: A shaman at the worship ceremony.
Work and play: Young people join in a bánh dày (sticky rice cake) making contest.