An old Asian scholar once said: “There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” And he was not wrong.
Tea has been a central cultural feature of East Asia for millennia, and Vietnam is one of the earliest tea-drinking nations in the world. The art of tea drinking in Vietnam is simple but elegant, with features that are hard to find anywhere else in the world.
A cup of tea is always a great way to start a conversation, and a good pot of tea provides a wonderful way to strengthen family bonds or friendships.
Brewing a hot pot of fresh tea and sipping it during the rare leisure time offered by the Lunar New Year holidays brings a feeling of peace and harmony, dissolving the stresses and strains typical to everyday life.
Over thousands of years, Vietnamese tradition has refined the art of tea drinking to six key factors: Nhất Nước (First, water), Nhì Trà (Second, tea), Tam Pha (Third, making), Tứ Ấm (Fourth, pot), Ngũ Trạch (Fifth, place), and Lục Nhạc (Sixth, sound).
According to Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, a tea connoisseur, Trạch means a space to enjoy tea. It can be a tea table in a living room, a porch, a communal house, the middle of a forest, or the quiet of a temple or pagoda.
Nhạc can include the sound of water-boiling, wind-blowing in the bamboo bushes, birdsongs or flutes gently humming…