An Overview of Vietnamese Tea Market

Tea holds a significant place in Vietnamese culture, cherished throughout the day for its refreshing and digestive properties. The Vietnamese tea ceremony, though simple and rustic, carries deep meaning, symbolizing genuine sentiments between hosts and guests.


Tea bears different names depending on the region. In the North, it is commonly referred to as Che, while in the Central and Southern regions, it is known as Tra.

Tea Culture in Vietnam

In Vietnam, green tea is widely popular, but its consumption and rituals differ across regions. Northerners embrace a tea-drinking tradition similar to the Chinese tea ceremony. They prefer brewing tea in ceramic or porcelain teapots and serving it in small cups. The highest-quality tea comes from young leaves harvested in spring.

In the Central and Southern regions, where the climate remains hot year-round, tea serves as a refreshing beverage throughout the day. Diluted tea with ample water, often mixed with ice, is favored. Tea is even enjoyed alongside coffee to enhance its flavor. It is also common to consume tea with meals, aiding in digestion.

Regardless of the region, the Vietnamese tea ceremony is esteemed as an art form cherished by the elite. Bearing resemblances to the Chinese tea ceremony, it is frequently employed for receiving guests and conducting business discussions.

Tea holds significant popularity in Vietnam, with its availability on street corners, restaurants, and cafes where it is often served complimentary.

Types of Vietnamese Tea

Renowned as one of the world’s leading tea exporters, Vietnam boasts a flourishing tea industry and a deep-rooted tea culture. The country’s diverse landscapes foster the growth of various tea varieties, contributing to the widespread popularity of tea across Vietnam.

Some of the beloved tea types found in Vietnam include:

Image: Lotus Tea

Tay Ho lotus tea

Nestled in the western part of Hanoi city lies Tay Ho, a magnificent lake renowned for its abundant lotus blooms that grace its waters year-round. The communities residing near this lake have cultivated the art of infusing tea leaves with the enchanting fragrance of lotus flowers for over four centuries. This exquisite tea-making tradition involves carefully selecting spring-harvested green tea leaves from Dai Tu mountain in Thai Nguyen province, which are then skillfully marinated with delicate lotus flowers and gently wrapped in lotus leaves. The tea is allowed to absorb the captivating lotus aroma over a period of 49 days, resulting in a captivating blend.

Tay Ho Lotus Tea represents the epitome of sophistication, once bestowed as a prestigious gift to royalty and revered as a national treasure. It has long served as a cherished token of exchange between Vietnamese and Chinese monarchs, symbolizing the harmonious cultural ties between the two nations.

Image: Shan Tuyet tea

Shan Tuyet Tea

Shan Tuyet tea (trà Shan Tuyết) is an ancient variety that thrives in the rugged terrain of the Ta Xua mountains in Son La province, Vietnam. These resilient tea trees have endured harsh weather conditions for hundreds of years, flourishing in the lofty peaks of Ta Xua. The distinct characteristics of Shan Tuyet tea leaves include their small size and a snowy white appearance, resembling delicate snowflakes, hence the name Shan Tuyet, meaning “mountain snowflake.”

Although Shan Tuyet tea has only gained recognition in the past century, its discovery came about when urban dwellers encountered ethnic communities residing in the remote Ta Xua mountains, who used tea leaves both as a medicine and a source of refreshment. The remarkable strength of Shan Tuyet tea allowed these mountain dwellers to tirelessly traverse the steep slopes throughout the day.

Renowned for its uniqueness and exceptional quality, Shan Tuyet Ta Xua tea commands a high price due to the scarcity of ancient tea trees and the challenging conditions involved in harvesting on the lofty mountains. As a result, the quantity of Shan Tuyet tea available remains exceedingly limited, making it a prized and highly sought-after delicacy.

Apart from Ta Xua mountain, the illustrious Shan Tuyet tea is also meticulously harvested from the pristine peaks of Tay Con Linh mountain, situated in Hoang Su Phi district of Ha Giang province.

Image: Dinh Tea Thai Nguyen

Dinh Tea

Dinh Tea (Trà Đinh), also known as Nail Tea, is a top-quality tea produced in the Tan Cuong mountains of Thai Nguyen province. Tan Cuong, hailed as the birthplace of Vietnamese tea, boasts a refreshing and cool climate, with the magnificent Nui Coc lake gracing its mountaintop – the largest lake in Vietnam. It is believed that the unique water source from Nui Coc lake, used for irrigation, enhances the delightful taste of tea in this region, surpassing all others in flavor.

Dinh tea is meticulously harvested from tender buds during early spring. These buds, known for their exquisite fragrance and flavor, yield a tea with a slightly bitter taste that transforms into a delightful aroma reminiscent of young rice upon swallowing. The distinctive nail-like shape of the finished tea gives it the name Dinh tea (Nail tea).

Within the Tan Cuong region, numerous families have been cultivating and crafting tea for over hundred years, and Tan Cuong tea remains the preferred choice among Vietnamese tea enthusiasts. This exquisite tea has also gained recognition and is exported worldwide.

Due to the rarity of the young buds used in its production and the expertise of seasoned artisans in the tea industry, Dinh tea commands a high price, averaging between $300 to $1000 per kilogram. Its exceptional quality and limited availability make it a highly valued and sought-after tea variety.

Image: Mong Rong Tea

Mong Rong Tea

Mong Rong tea (Trà Móng Rồng – Dragon Claw tea) is a unique tea variety that thrives in Tay Con Linh, located in Ha Giang province, Vietnam. Tay Con Linh stands as the tallest mountain range in Northeast Vietnam, and it is here that the La Chi ethnic group ascends to the mountain’s peak, reaching an elevation of 2400 meters, to gather a special herbal tea known for its rejuvenating properties. This tea, resembling the claws of a dragon, is aptly named Dragon Claw Tea by the local people.

The tea trees in this area are ancient, having grown for hundreds of years. The La Chi community selectively plucks young buds, resembling golden honey, resulting in a light yellow tea with a fragrant essence reminiscent of bamboo shoots. The La Chi people consume Dragon Claw Tea to fortify their bodies, enabling them to scale mountains and ward off illnesses. Notably, Mong Rong tea is caffeine-free, making it suitable for invigorating refreshment throughout the day.

Due to its scarcity and limited production, Dragon Claw Tea commands a higher price than other teas, adding to its allure and desirability among tea enthusiasts. This exceptional tea offers a captivating blend of rarity and invigorating qualities, making it a treasure to behold.

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Lam Dong Oolong Tea

Nestled in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Lam Dong province boasts a perpetually cool and refreshing climate, making it the largest hub for high-tech agriculture and cultivation in the country.

Approximately two decades ago, Taiwanese connoisseurs became acquainted with Lam Dong when they embarked on a search for an ideal region that met the stringent standards for premium Oolong tea. After conducting thorough assessments of Oolong tea cultivation in Lam Dong, Taiwanese entrepreneurs were delighted to discover that the harvested tea leaves exhibited unparalleled quality, surpassing those grown in other regions. Subsequently, they sought permission from the Vietnamese government to invest in Oolong tea plantations and production in Lam Dong for global exportation.

Thanks to the distinctive climate of Lam Dong’s red soil plateau, Oolong tea produced here possesses an enchanting aroma, a robust flavor profile, and exceptional nutritional value. Lam Dong Oolong Tea now stands as a distinguished tea variety, eagerly sought after by discerning markets worldwide, including Taiwan, Japan, and various European countries. The unmatched quality of Lam Dong Oolong Tea renders it a luxurious tea offering, enriching the palates and health of tea enthusiasts worldwide.

Image: Jasmine Tea

Jasmine Tea

Jasmine tea (Trà Hoa Nhài), renowned as the “royal tea” served to concubines during the Nguyen Dynasty, holds a special place in Vietnamese culture. It is especially cherished by Vietnamese women for its multitude of benefits.

Crafted by infusing jasmine flowers with green tea, this unique combination creates an exquisite aroma and flavor, captivating the senses.

Jasmine is rich in aromatherapy compounds, particularly jasmine oil, known for its calming properties that help reduce stress, alleviate insomnia, and uplift mood. Tea enthusiasts often relish the experience by inhaling the enchanting fragrance emanating from a cup of hot jasmine tea. Additionally, the moisturizing properties of jasmine oil can contribute to maintaining supple, hydrated skin.

Beyond its sensory delights, jasmine tea holds a revered position in traditional Vietnamese medicine. It has been employed to address ailments like headaches, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, and respiratory problems.

With its royal heritage and therapeutic attributes, jasmine tea remains a cherished beverage, symbolizing both elegance and well-being in Vietnamese culture.

Tea Growing Regions in Vietnam

Thai Nguyen Province

Thai Nguyen province holds a prominent position as a renowned tea-growing region with a rich heritage spanning centuries. The traditional methods of cultivating, harvesting, and processing tea have been faithfully preserved over time. Notably, Dong Hy tea, Tan Cuong tea, and La Bang tea are esteemed brands hailing from Thai Nguyen. Among them, Dong Hy tea, specifically the Dinh tea variety, stands out as the pinnacle of premium teas, commanding prices ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per kilogram.

Moc Chau, Son La Province

Moc Chau has gained recognition as a notable destination for cultivating Japanese tea varieties. Its favorable climate and soil conditions make it an ideal locale for growing and processing Matcha tea. Approximately two decades ago, the Japanese discovered the immense potential of the Moc Chau area, noting its exceptional suitability for yielding high-quality Matcha tea. Since then, Moc Chau has consistently delivered Matcha tea products of excellent caliber, satisfying both domestic demand and export requirements to Japan.

Suoi Giang, Yen Bai Province

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Yen Bai province in northwest Vietnam, Suoi Giang is a mountainous commune renowned for its prized Shan Tuyet tea. Flourishing on the lofty peaks, these tea plants boast lifespans reaching hundreds of years.

Remarkably, Suoi Giang is home to a remarkable collection of ancient tea trees. More than a thousand Shan Tuyet tea trees have reached the century mark, with 300 trees surpassing 200 years, and about a hundred trees proudly standing for over 300 years. These venerable specimens are among the rarest ancient tea trees in existence today.

The local H’mong community, deeply connected to the land, embraces the daily consumption of Shan Tuyet tea as an herbal elixir, enabling them to maintain vitality and vigor for their mountainous endeavors. The H’mong people hold a deep reverence for the ancestral tea tree, believed to possess the most ancient life force. They attribute their health and longevity to the nourishing properties of these tea leaves, fostering a cherished bond with the trees that have blessed them through generations.

Ha Giang Province

Situated as the third largest tea-growing region in Vietnam, following Thai Nguyen and Lam Dong, Ha Giang province boasts a distinguished reputation in the tea industry. Notably, it is renowned for its production of Shan Tuyet tea and Shan Nam Ty tea, cultivated and crafted by the skilled hands of ethnic communities residing in the mountainous terrain, including the H’mong, Tay, and Nung people.

The tea harvests of Ha Giang find their way to international markets, finding favor among tea connoisseurs in China, Korea, Japan, and Pakistan. Moreover, Ha Giang has earned its place as a sought-after tea tourism destination, captivating foreign visitors with its expansive tea plantations sprawling over 20,000 hectares. Here, one can bask in the breathtaking vistas, inhaling the crisp mountain air, while indulging in the distinct flavors of tea offered graciously by the local inhabitants. Ha Giang Province stands as a testament to the harmonious marriage of nature’s beauty and the exquisite artistry of tea production.

Tuyen Quang Province

Nestled in the northern region of Vietnam, Tuyen Quang province emerges as a captivating destination renowned for its remarkable tea varieties. Among the notable teas cultivated here are Shan Tuyet, Kim Tuyen, Ngoc Thuy, Phuc Van Tien, and Dai Bach Tra. These teas encapsulate the essence of Tuyen Quang’s rich tea heritage.

While Tuyen Quang tea is cherished locally, it also finds a significant market abroad, with a substantial portion being exported to China.

Bao Loc, Lam Dong Province

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Lam Dong province, Bao Loc stands as a land blessed with a consistently cool and temperate climate. Enriched by fertile basalt red soil, this region has become a prime investment hub for the cultivation and production of not only tea but also a wide range of high-quality agricultural products.

Bao Loc boasts renowned tea farms, such as Nong Chau and Phuong Nam, which are dedicated to crafting exceptional black tea, green tea, and Oolong tea varieties. These teas have gained recognition not only within Vietnam but also in international markets like Taiwan, Pakistan, Europe, and Japan.

Tea Industry in Vietnam

Tea holds a significant place in Vietnam’s agricultural exports, contributing to the country’s thriving economy. In 2022, Vietnam proudly exported approximately 146,000 tons of tea, amounting to a value of nearly 300 million dollars.

Vietnam predominantly exports black tea, green tea, and oolong tea. Black tea constitutes approximately 50% of the exports, while oolong tea accounts for around 25%, and green tea claims a 24% share. Other tea varieties make up the remaining portion. On average, the export price of black tea is around $1,350 per ton, whereas green tea and oolong tea fetch approximately $1,880 per ton.

Vietnam’s tea products find their way to 74 countries and territories worldwide. Key markets for Vietnamese tea include Pakistan, Taiwan, Russia, Indonesia, and China, which collectively contribute to nearly 70% of the export volume and over 70% of the export value.

Pakistan emerged as Vietnam’s largest tea consumer in 2020, importing 43,357 tons, valued at around 82.59 million USD, with an average price of $1,905 per ton. Taiwan ranks as the second-largest market, importing 17,290 tons, equivalent to 26.68 million USD, constituting almost 13% of the total tea volume and export turnover.

Russia stands as another significant market, importing 14,071 tons, worth 21.52 million USD, accounting for over 10% of the total volume and turnover.

Other notable countries include China (8,221 tons), the United States (5,472 tons), Iraq (3,943 tons), Indonesia (8,540 tons), India (4,471 tons), Malaysia (3,997 tons), Turkey (657 tons), Ukraine (1,716 tons), the Philippines (426 tons), the United Arab Emirates (1,575 tons), Saudi Arabia (1,676 tons), Poland (342 tons), Germany (132 tons), and Kuwait (26 tons).

The flourishing tea industry in Vietnam continues to expand its reach and satisfy the diverse tea preferences of consumers worldwide.

Vietnam Top 10 Tea’s Exporter in 2022

In 2022, Vietnam’s tea exports are projected to reach 146,000 tons, valued at 237 million USD, marking a 15.3% increase in volume and a 10.7% increase in value compared to 2021. The average export price for tea is estimated to be around 1,620 USD per ton, representing a 4% decrease from the previous year.

Notably, green tea has been the leading export category for 11 months of 2022, reaching 55.2 thousand tons, valued at 104 million USD. This reflects a 12.2% increase in volume and a 9.1% increase in value compared to the same period in 2021. The average export price for green tea stands at 1,884.2 USD per ton, experiencing a slight decline of 2.8%.

In the same period, black tea exports amounted to 49.4 thousand tons, valued at 70.7 million USD, showing a decrease of 7.7% in volume and 6.3% in value compared to the previous year. The average export price for black tea is estimated to be 1,432.7 USD per ton, reflecting a modest increase of 1.5%.

Furthermore, the export of oolong tea demonstrated significant growth in the first 11 months of 2022, reaching 600 tons, valued at 1.7 million USD. This indicates a remarkable increase of 75.2% in volume and 155.5% in value compared to the corresponding period in 2021. The export price for oolong tea averaged at 3,106.7 USD per ton, reflecting a substantial increase of 45.8% compared to the same period in 2021.

Here are the top 10 Vietnam tea’s exporters in 2022:

  1. Asia Tea Company Limited
  2. Future Generation Phu Tho Company Limited
  3. SSOE Phu Tho Tea Company Limited
  4. Nam Anh Phat Import Export Joint Stock Company Limited
  5. Nam Son Phu Tho Company Limited
  6. Thien Phu Tea Joint Stock Company
  7. Hoang Minh Tea Company Limited
  8. Nam Long Company Limited
  9. Ha Tinh Tea Joint Stock Company
  10. Song Lo Tea Joint Stock Company

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