Drinking tea is inherently a beautiful custom in Vietnamese culture. Hue royal tea is regarded as one of the most special and unique type of tea among the varieties of teas. This is because it is not only just a refreshing drink, but also there is an art and aesthetic etiquette in enjoying this unique Vietnamese tea. Amidst the daily worries, things would be more poetic and fulfilled just by the quaint senses of nostalgia, elegance, and delicacy coming in a sip of Hue royal tea. Therefore, it has been a cultural beauty, a unique specialty of Hue, and has become a cultural heritage of Vietnam for ages and ages.
The main ingredients will include dried tea leaves and water. Other parts depend on the type of tea, which would be different flowers, fruits, or herbs.
The name royal tea originated from the Hue royalties’ tea culture, which used to belong only to emperors, mandarins, and royal families. Back in the time, the tea that served those elites was usually wrapped in lotus flower to absorb the flower’s natural scent, bringing tea drinkers the relaxing and calming feelings. For the elaborate preparation and delicate drinking etiquette, this kind of tea is naturally not suitable for the regular citizen considering their conditions. Hence, as the artisan wholeheartedly dedicated their minds and effort to the making of Hue royal tea, it has transformed into the beautiful art passing down through generations.
Having a proper fragrant, tasty royal style teapot is easier said than done. There is a set of strict rules to follow throughout the process, from picking tea leaves to soaking and then drying them, which takes quite a lot of time and effort. The main ingredients will include dried tea leaves and water. Other parts depend on the type of tea, which would be different flowers, fruits, or herbs. The water must be the rainwater collected in clean earthenware jars to get more refreshing water. Then, people cook it till simmering, ensuring not well-boiled because too hot water makes the flavour too strong and reduces the aroma. On the contrary, lukewarm water does not have enough heat for brewing tea, which results in bland tea. After putting about 20-30 grams of tea in the jar, add the first part of hot water to rinse tea. Continue filling the water for a second time and steep the tea for about 5 minutes, then you can serve and enjoy a good cup of tea.
To properly enjoy Hue royal tea in the right way, having a proper tea set is a must. The set includes four types of teacup specialized for the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter – also known as tea times. Hue people drink their tea as a form of ritual; whether it is the tea ceremony for only one, two, or many, all the brewing steps will be kept original, from the manner, brewing, serving, honour toasting to enjoying. They often join the tea ceremony with some unique desserts, such as mung bean cake, lotus seed, peanut candy, etc. Nothing is as fascinating as sipping hot tea in the chilly weather, feeling the light relaxing scent and the well-blended bitter and sweet tastes spreading gently within the body. Hue Imperial Tea is a harmonious combination of 16 precious herbs including Artichoke, Chrysanthemum, Stevia, Yam root, Dang Shen, Fructus Ziziphus, Jujube fruit, Anise, Chinese liquorice, Jasmine, Sophora Japonica, Senna Tora, Bitter Melon, Goji berry, Syzygium nervosum bud, Lotus embryo. Each herb has its effects on each part of the human body, helping improve health. People make tea following heirloom recipes. For example, applying the yin-yang law to choose the time to “sao vàng hạ thổ” (dry-frying the herbs until they turn yellowish brown, then cooling them by dropping (on a clean, thin cloth) on the ground in a specific time) without using any additives. Hue royal tea has a wide range of variety, with the use of each type as a particular remedy that suits the need of users. Some are for the elderly, women, even people with specific diseases, etc.
Not only a refreshing drink, but Hue Royal Tea is also considered a “magic medicine” that benefits health. It is no exaggeration to say that a teapot of royal tea fosters health as effective as a bowl of Chinese traditional medicine. Some outstanding uses of this kind of tea include: improving sleep quality, treating headaches, balancing blood pressure, nourishing the heart and blood cells, detoxifying the liver, restoring liver cells, clearing heat, reducing acne, beautifying skin, improving physique, enhancing vitality, supporting the treatment of diabetes.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt