Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tân Cương - Tea of Thái Nguyên

Located at about 13km from Thái Nguyên city in the West, Tân Cương is really a destination with natural scenery, sloping hills facing the sunset called “lizard mountain” or “núi Thằn Lằn”. All the streams, headed from the forests, are running along the hill-front to freshen the land of famous tea.

Green environment and clean air seem to activate the community life and to surprise the visitors. Hill after hill, tea garden after each other and the flavour of tea make the whole area scented. Day by day, the locals busy themselves with picking and processing tea-buds, so highly-skilled as the conjurers, they are honoured to be the artisans. Each family has a drying-kiln and a house-owner can act in different roles: a farmer as growing, a worker (in processing) and a dealer (in selling tea). Tea-buds picking is for young girls, that’s why, on every tea-hill, it’s always filled with their laughter and singing. Traditionally, tea was dried in cast-iron pan or bronze pan, it needs patience and good care and only women are patient enough for the job. Nowadays, everything is done by machines, it takes less time. Any way, tea quality much depends on how to adjust the heat, sometimes, it’s up to 1800C for generations, the Tân Cương people can feel the heat with their hands.

Their sensitive and fingers tell them how and when to make the heat high or low. If it’s too hot, tea will become bitter taste. Some skilled people can feel the heat by moving tea leaves. No visitors can come close to the drying pan, although they are carefully instructed.

Tea-buds, after picking, need drying in shades in 3 hours, it’s a precious experience handed down by generations. Visitors to Tân Cương will be guided to the “ancestral land”, to see the old tea-plants in Lam Sơn, under the foot of Guộc mountain. The old tea-trees are so big that a man can only embrace with wide-open arms.

It’s very interesting and joyful to sip the tea in the fresh-air atmosphere while listening to aged people telling the history of their “ancestral land of tea”. Tân Cương tea flavours seem to be the quintessence of natural scents. Don’t forget to buy the local products - Tân Cương tea for your presents and souvenirs when you visit the land.

                                                                    CÔNG THÀNH

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