Starting along the mountain range of West Con Linh in Hà Giang Province. This province shares its border with China on its northeast side. You will disappoint to find that some very big plantation tea trees – two or three people can barely join hands around the trunk – had been cut down, milled and sold away to China since 2008. The law does not prohibit the felling of plantation tea trees. There are only trees with trunks 20 cm to 40 cm across left. According to the tea-growers you will met, tea trees 20 cm across are 1000 to 3000 years old.
"I have travelled across 120 countries which have tea trees in the world but I’ve not seen anywhere there are perennial tea trees like Shan Tuyet tea. Whether this is the place where the tea tree came from--the tea here is unique. In the bowl of green tea there are all the 18 tastes of the top tea types in the world," Academican of the USSR Academy of Sciences – Mr. MK Djemukhatze wrote in the visitor’s book of Suoi Giang since 1960.
This scientist also made a research work on the north Vietnam tea plants and published in book in 1976. Accordingly, Djemukhatze confirmed that the Vietnamese tea trees in the north are the ancestor trees. Being recognised as a Vietnamese natural heritage contributes to protecting the genetic resources of the well-known tea variety.
Cao Bo commune has a total of nearly 1,000 ha of ancient Shan Tuyet Tea tree. Since 2011, Cao Bo tea products have been recognised as organic products by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
TRÀ ỐNG LAM (VIETNAMESE NAME) or PU-ERH TEA (CHINESES NAME)
The tea is made from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the same plant that is used for making green, oolong, and black teas. Though the same source plant is used, the different teas are made by using different processes. Green tea is not fermented, oolong tea is partially fermented, black tea is fully fermented, and Pu-erh tea is post-fermented. This means Pu-erh tea’s processing includes both fermentation and then prolonged storage, or “aging,” under high humidity. Pu-erh tea that is aged for a longer period of time is supposed to taste better. However, it can also smell musty or taste stale because mold and bacteria will sometimes attack the tea during the long aging process. Pu-erh tea is produced in the Yunnan district in the southwestern part of China and Cao Bo village of Ha Giang, Vietnam. It has also gained popularity in Taiwan. Pu-erh tea is used as medicine.
Pu-erh tea is used for improving mental alertness and sharp thinking. It is also used for reducing high cholesterol.