Vietnamese Oolong tea is renowned as the finest quality tea worldwide and enjoys immense popularity in markets spanning Taiwan, China, and Europe.
Oolong tea has deep roots in Vietnam and is predominantly cultivated and produced in the central region by the Vietnamese of Chinese descent who settled there.
During the 1980s, Taiwanese entrepreneurs ventured into Vietnam in search of trading prospects. They discovered that Vietnam possessed the ideal geography, climate, and environment for tea cultivation, particularly Oolong tea. The Oolong tea produced in Vietnam showcased remarkable quality and a captivating aroma, leading to the rapid growth of Oolong tea cultivation and production in the country.
Presently, Oolong tea accounts for approximately 3-5% of Vietnam’s total tea production. It is primarily exported to Taiwan, China, and Europe, elevating Vietnam’s status as one of the world’s foremost exporters of Oolong tea.
Oolong tea cultivation regions in Vietnam
The highlands of Vietnam serve as prime locations for growing and producing Oolong tea, with Lam Dong, Moc Chau, and Yen Bai emerging as the leading contributors in terms of output and quality.
Moc Chau, situated in the northwest region of Vietnam’s Son La province, stands as a renowned highland district known for tea production. It boasts two notable tea products: Vietnamese Matcha tea and Vietnamese Oolong tea.
Oolong tea from Moc Chau predominantly finds its way to export markets such as Yunnan province in China, Laos, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Yen Bai, an elevated province located in the northeast of Vietnam, holds the distinction of being the second-largest Oolong tea cultivation region in the country, following Lam Dong province. Yen Bai’s Oolong tea products are primarily exported to China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
Lam Dong, a central province in Vietnam, boasts the largest Oolong tea cultivation area, accounting for approximately 70% of the country’s Oolong tea production.
Benefiting from its exceptionally favorable geographic position for cultivation, production, and export, Lam Dong’s Oolong tea products successfully cater to domestic demand while being exported to countries like Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, and Europe.
Vietnam Oolong Tea Export
In 2021, Vietnam emerged as a significant player in the global tea market, with tea exports reaching a substantial value of $195 million, solidifying its position as the 9th largest tea exporter worldwide. Within Vietnam itself, tea held the 208th position among the most exported products. Notably, Pakistan stood out as the primary destination for Vietnam’s tea exports, with a remarkable value of $72.1 million. Following closely were Chinese Taipei at $28.8 million, Russia at $20 million, China at $14 million, and Iraq at $9.87 million.
When considering Oolong tea specifically, its exports contribute to around 1% of Vietnam’s total tea export value, amounting to approximately $2 million. Taiwan, China, the United States, and Europe serve as the largest export markets for Vietnam’s Oolong tea, highlighting its international appeal and demand.
Vietnam Oolong Tea Health Benefits
Vietnamese Oolong tea is meticulously cultivated and processed using advanced techniques and strict standards to ensure both its exceptional quality and the health benefits it offers:
- Rich in antioxidants: Vietnamese Oolong tea is abundant in polyphenol antioxidants, which help protect the body against harmful free radicals and oxidative stress.
- Blood sugar regulation: Regular consumption of Vietnamese Oolong tea may aid in managing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Weight management: The combination of caffeine and polyphenols in Vietnamese Oolong tea may help boost metabolism, increase fat oxidation, and potentially contribute to weight loss or weight management.
- Heart health: Vietnamese Oolong tea has been associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are crucial factors in maintaining cardiovascular health.
- Digestive health: Oolong tea, including the Vietnamese variety, is known for its potential to promote healthy digestion, relieve digestive discomfort, and support overall gut health.
- Mental alertness and focus: The caffeine content in Vietnamese Oolong tea can provide a natural boost in energy, enhance mental alertness, and improve focus.
- Relaxation and stress relief: Vietnamese Oolong tea contains theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation and may help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Hydration and overall well-being: Drinking Vietnamese Oolong tea can contribute to daily hydration while providing a flavorful and enjoyable beverage choice.
Exploring the Process of Vietnamese Oolong Tea Production
Vietnamese Oolong tea undergoes a meticulous manufacturing process that adheres to strict quality, food hygiene, and safety criteria. The process ensures the tea’s exceptional taste, aroma, and health benefits. Here is an overview of the manufacturing steps involved:
The freshest tea buds are handpicked in the morning when the dew is present. Only the 3-5 first leaves are selected.
The tea leaves are immediately taken to the processing facility within two hours of picking. First, the leaves are spread and dried in the sun for 1.5-2 hours at a temperature of 25-30°C, with a mesh covering to limit direct sunlight. This step promotes natural fermentation by increasing enzyme activity. Then, the tea is placed in a cooling room at 18-19°C for approximately 9 hours, with regular mixing every 3 hours to ensure the leaves become soft without breaking during rolling.
The tea leaves are rotated in a spinning barrel 15-20 times for 1 minute each time. This process breaks down the cells of the tea leaves, exposing tea oils to oxygen and facilitating oxidation.
The tea is transferred to a fermentation room where it is left untouched for 1.5-2 hours at a temperature of 18-20°C. During this step, the tea leaves oxidize, resulting in the development of their unique color and aroma.
The tea is roasted at high temperatures to prevent further oxidation and initiate drying once the desired level of fermentation is achieved. This step imparts a light green color and imparts a delightful aromatic flavor to the final Vietnamese Oolong tea.
The tea is gently twirled in a specialized machine for 1-2 minutes, making the tea leaves softer and facilitating the shaping process.
The tea is pressed, heated, and formed into pellets. It is mixed thoroughly to create round tea balls within 5 hours. The Vietnamese Oolong tea buds acquire a rounded, tightened, and dried appearance while remaining soft.
The tea undergoes three drying sessions at approximately 100-105°C, totaling 3-4 hours. This helps reduce moisture content, stabilize the tea’s substances, and enrich the tea infusion with a delicate, floral aroma and long-lasting fragrance.
Once the tea leaves are completely dried, they are sorted and grouped based on size and color to create different grades of Vietnamese Oolong tea. The tea grades are determined by the extent of broken leaves. Finally, the tea is packed according to market specifications and requirements.
By meticulously following these manufacturing steps, Vietnamese Oolong tea attains its superior quality and meets the demands of discerning tea enthusiasts.
Varieties of Vietnamese Oolong Tea: Flavors and Processing Techniques
The unique flavor and taste of Vietnamese Oolong tea are influenced by factors such as climate, geography, cultivar, and processing techniques. Popular tea cultivars from Taiwan, including purebred Oolong, Oolong Kim Tuyen, and Oolong Tu Quy, are carefully planted in highland areas of Vietnam such as Lam Dong, Moc Chau, and Yen Bai. These regions have a cool and foggy climate throughout the year, providing the ideal conditions for cultivating and producing Oolong tea of exceptional quality.
Fresh Oolong tea leaves are meticulously selected and processed into round tea pellets, employing modern technology to preserve the highest content of antioxidant EGCG in the leaves. Vietnamese Oolong tea comes in three distinct forms:
This type of tea undergoes a longer fermentation process, bridging the gap between Oolong and black tea. It results in a darker red liquor and a more pronounced, deep flavor.
The fermentation process is halted earlier for green Oolong tea, giving it characteristics closer to green tea. It produces a light yellow liquor with a fresh aroma and a subtler taste.
Roasted Oolong tea is subjected to a more extended roasting period, resulting in a distinctive roasted aroma that can be particularly enticing, especially when combined with other ingredients like milk.
These variations in processing techniques contribute to the diverse flavors and profiles found in Vietnamese Oolong tea, allowing tea enthusiasts to explore a range of delightful options.
Advantages of Importing Vietnamese Oolong Tea
When it comes to selecting a supplier of Oolong tea, several factors come into play. Here are compelling reasons why importing Oolong tea from Vietnam should be your top choice:
World’s Leading Tea Exporter
Vietnam holds a prominent position as one of the largest tea-exporting nations globally. In 2021, Vietnam exported tea worth a staggering value of 195 million USD, securing the 8th spot in the world rankings.
With decades of expertise in tea production and export, Vietnam’s tea processing industry is a cornerstone of the country’s economy. Boasting numerous tea factories, Vietnam ensures exceptional productivity, high quality, and competitive prices.
Tea cultivation and production have been deeply ingrained in Vietnamese culture for thousands of years. This longstanding tradition has equipped the Vietnamese with invaluable skills and experience, resulting in highly efficient production and business practices that contribute to the effectiveness of the tea industry.
Vietnam’s geographical features offer an ideal environment for cultivating, producing, and processing tea. With over 10 highland regions characterized by a cool climate, tea grown in Vietnam attains exceptional quality, delightful flavor, nutritional richness, and significant health benefits.
Vietnam boasts an extensive tea-growing area with more than 10 dedicated tea-growing regions. This vast cultivation capacity positions Vietnam as one of the world’s largest tea suppliers, guaranteeing a consistent and plentiful supply of tea to meet global demands.
By choosing to import Vietnamese Oolong tea, you gain access to a leading tea exporter renowned for its competitive pricing, extensive experience, uncompromising quality, and ample supply. Embrace the excellence of Vietnamese Oolong tea and elevate your tea business to new heights.