Some of the best tea production areas in Vietnam are found in Hà Giang Province 

Ha Giang Province stretches from the mountain range of West Con Linh to the Chinese border. It contains some of the most ancient and precious Shan Tuyet tea trees on earth. Tragically, the largest plantation tea trees have been cut down, however, the remaining ancient trees can still be 1000 to 3000 years old.

Cao Bo village has a total of nearly 1,000 ha of ancient Shan Tuyet Tea tree.  The leaves from these trees are used to produce the famous Trà ông lam (in vietnamese) or pu-erh tea (in chinese). Since 2011, Cao Bo tea products have been recognised as organic products by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). 

"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," Academic of the USSR Academy of Sciences – Mr. MK Djemukhatze, writing in the visitor’s book of Suoi Giang in 1960. 

Mr Djemukhatze researched tea plants of Northern Vietnam and published a book about them in 1976. The results of this research confirmed that the tea trees in the Ha Giang Province are original ancestor trees. The recognition of their status as an important element of the natural heritage of Vietnam contributes to the protection of this valuable genetic resource. 


The tea is made from the leaves and stems of the Shan Tuyet tree. This is the same tree that is used for making green, oolong, and black teas. The various 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 the processing of Pu-erh tea includes both fermentation and prolonged storage, or “aging,”, in high humidity conditions. Pu-erh tea that is aged for a longer period of time tastes better. Pu-erh tea is valued for its medicinal properties and drinking it is said to improve mental alertness and reduce high cholesterol.

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