A quick look back at the history of « Thé du Vietnam »!

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In our Tân Cương green tea plantation in Thái Nguyên !

Hi everyone ! I hope you are well ! Haaa it’s been really great a long time since I wrote an article on our blog! And I must admit that it feels good to get back to it! In fact, quite a few of you have asked us to tell our story in order to know the origins of « Tea from Vietnam ». So of course, the people who have followed us since the beginning of the adventure know us well. But for the new ones, I told myself that a little blog post wouldn’t hurt to lay the foundations. For the occasion I chose to tell our story from my point of view this time. If that interests you, during our beginnings Rémi had already written an article available here. Let’s go !

Who are we and where do we come from?

Thé du Vietnam was created, if we take the exact date of our first blog post, August 25, 2017 by my husband (Rémi) and myself (Loan). And as you can imagine, we are a Franco-Vietnamese couple! But if you think about it .. this story really started in 2011 !

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A photo I took of Rémi while he admired the leaves of our future Hoàng Su Phì Đỏ red tea in Hà Giang!

Back to the true origins of Vietnam tea.

So I admit, in 2011 I knew absolutely nothing about the world of tea. For young Vietnamese like me who grew up in big cities like Hanoi, the fashion is for Western-style tea bags! Rather, real whole leaf tea is consumed by those belonging to the generation of my grandparents or my uncles and aunts. Whole leaf tea was also widely consumed by the ancients in the countryside! I still remember when I was little around 1995, I was cleaning my grandmother’s teapot and « playing » with the freshly brewed green tea leaves. At the time, my grandmother sold medicinal plants and each time she offered a small cup of tea to her customers.

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A very strong green tea as my grandmother prepared it in the countryside in the 90’s!

I won’t hide from you that at the time I found green tea too bitter for me, and that my interest was more in sweets ????????. I only started drinking tea (in a bag of course) when I was a teenager with my friends. It was when I arrived in France in 2011 to do my Masters in economics that I met Rémi. As surprising as it may seem, it was he who introduced me to real tea even if it was not done smoothly .. Let me explain. One day, when we were still students, Rémi came to my place, so I offered him a tea (in a bag of course) which surprised him a lot. He then asks me why a Vietnamese woman like me prefers to drink industrial tea when there are whole leaf teas extremely rare in Vietnam .. Wow! There I said to myself that this guy was too weird to tell me that my tea bag was industrial and that he preferred to drink the tea of ​​the elders of the countryside! What I didn’t know at the time was that Rémi had been passionate about tea since the age of 15 and that his dream was to eventually make a living from this passion. I then asked my mother (who knows a lot of people in Vietnam) if she knew of a small tea farmer somewhere in the countryside. She therefore contacted one of her friends who owns a small tea garden in Thái Nguyên.

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A small tea garden in the countryside of Thái Nguyên.

Two months later, Rémi was able to taste his real tea from Vietnam in whole leaves! For my part, I was able to rediscover the tea that my grandmother consumed when I was a child, with the difference that Rémi prepares tea differently from what the elders used to do in the countryside. This makes it much less bitter, more vegetal and accessible. And I can tell you that since that time we can’t do without it! ???? It was in 2017 that Rémi decided to kill two birds with one stone by going to Vietnam to meet my family and look for small tea producers. As he often tells me, he not only wants to bring back the best teas from Vietnam for our personal consumption but also to introduce it to European tea enthusiasts! It was therefore officially in 2017 that the Vietnam tea adventure was born!

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Rémi and myself in our tea plantations at Mộc Châu on the left, Thái Nguyên in the middle and Hà Giang on the right!

We were very lucky on our first trip because we were able to meet our first 2 producers of green teas in Thái Nguyên and oolong teas in Mộc Châu. We were able to visit their plantations, listen to their stories and learn about their trade secrets. Our growing friends are so happy to know that their teas will end up in your cup! Here are friends! This article is already very long so I will not dwell on our second trip to Hà Giang for wild tea or our galleys of novice importers. But now you have my version! Good tasting and good day! PS: If you will appreciate our teas made in Vietnam and want to support us, please give us a little note and a little comment in Google through this link. ????????????

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