Try The Highlands Flavor of Snow Shan TeaMonday, March 04, 2013
Try the highlands flavor of snow Shan tea
Suoi Giang Commune in the mountainous northwest area not only wins the hearts of tourists with its fresh atmosphere, pan-pipes and flute sounds of H’mong people but also with the specialty snow Shan tea.
Located in the northern province of Yen Bai at a height of nearly 1,400 meters above sea level, Suoi Giang is endowed with an ideal cool climate like Sapa in Lao Cai or Dalat in Lam Dong Province.
This is home to snow Shan tea trees, a wild tea tree growing on 800-1,800-meter-high areas in the country’s north, most of which are over 300 years old with huge trunks covering several meters in diameter.
Coated with a white/grey color, tender tea leaves are likened to snow flowers, thus named ‘snow Shan tea’ with Shan meaning ‘mountain’.
In the tea season, the tea flavor pervading throughout Suoi Giang is so strong the tart flavor catches your throat.
Early in the morning, visitors to the region will have a chance to climb century-old tea trees to pick young tender tea leaves with local residents. Tea leaves that are neither infected with insects nor old are recommended.
The next job is to roast tea leaves manually which is not suitable for the inexperienced tea-maker. After roasting, the tea leaves will shrink into fish-hook shapes but their snow spots and pure flavors must be ensured.
Making the tea also requires high-quality skills, with either well-boiled rain-water or deep-well-water selected. Tea drinkers at first are treated with the yellow and green colors of tea water before enjoying the tartness then turning into pure flavor from their tongue tip into their throats.