Vietnam is a country of contrasts and its tea industry is no exception to this rule. Location and geography allow tea to grown in the sub-tropical north as well as the tropical south. Vietnam forms part of the cradle of tea, yet, has a relatively young tea industry. It continues to pursue rapid growth in commodity products, but the shoots of specialty tea are starting to break through. What can you expect to find in your Vietnamese cup of tea? Land and History For most of its history, tea in Vietnam was a garden crop while the tea culture that developed [...]
About Geoff HopkinsGeoff is originally from the UK and had a long career working in IT for a major international bank in both Europe and Asia before deciding to turn his enthusiasm for tea into a business. He has been living in Vietnam since 2008 and in 2011 was co-founder of Hatvala with his Vietnamese business partner. Hatvala has an exclusive focus on Vietnam with a mission to source responsibly produced teas of character direct from farmers and small-scale producers across the country. Travelling regularly to Vietnam’s tea areas Geoff and his partner have established great relationships and work tirelessly to discover and create new teas and to improve the quality and consistency of their existing range. Geoff has also traveled to study tea production in parts of India and China.
Ask people where tea comes from and not many will immediately think of Vietnam. Yet, according to the most recently published UN FAO statistics, Vietnam was the sixth largest producer and fifth largest exporter of tea in the world. This disconnect reflects the country’s strategy of quantity over quality. As someone living in Vietnam who has had an interest in a tea business since 2010, I'm often asked, “What is tea in Vietnam like?” There is, of course, no simple answer. The largely commodity tea output overwhelms the gradual shift that has taken place in recent years to focus on higher quality and responsibly [...]