Tea has been the most popular beverage in Vietnam for thousands of years. However, the art of enjoying tea of Vietnamese people isn’t too sophisticated to become a tea ceremony. Therefore, you can see the variety in the ways Vietnamese people drink tea and use tea sets. Because of many different hobbies and styles of enjoying tea, the tea sets aren’t similar in size and materials.
In this article, let’s discover the variety of Vietnamese tea sets, which partly reflect the diversity and uniqueness in our tea culture.
1. Vietnamese tea set for enjoying tea
There’s a saying in Vietnam that refers to the important factors when making tea: “the first is water, the second is tea leaves, the third is making method, the fourth is the teapot, the fifth is tea friends” (Vietnamese: “nhất ấm, nhì trà, tam pha, tứ ấm, ngũ quần anh”).
Teapot, in particular, and tea set, in general, is one of the five most important factors which help make the best cup of tea.
1.1. Basic description of Vietnamese tea set for enjoying
In common, the Vietnamese tea set includes one large teapot with a handle, one big teacup (optional), and from one to six small teacups. Some tea sets have more saucers like the Western style.
The large teacup is used to contain tea infusion and make tea color the same before pouring it into small teacups. If not, we will have different colors and tastes between small cups. If the tea set doesn’t have a large teacup, pour a little tea water in turn into each small cup until the small cups are full.
Vietnamese tea connoisseurs choose tea sets according to the number of drinkers. For example:
For one person:
A 70 – 120ml teapot and one teacup for one person, called độc ẩm in Vietnamese language.
For two people
A 150 – 220ml teapot and two teacups if there are two people drinking tea together, called đối ẩm in Vietnamese language.
For from 4 to 6 people
A 250ml teapot and 4 or 6 teacups for four, five or six people drinking tea together, called quần ẩm in Vietnamese language.
People are most concerned about the material of the tea set, as it will affect the aroma and quality of tea. Different materials will suit certain types of tea.
Vietnamese pottery tea set
Pottery was the first material used to make tea sets, and it is said to be the best choice for brewing tea. Vietnamese people often use pottery tea set for brewing oolong tea and black tea.
Among potteries, purple clay tea sets are the greatest for brewing tea because this clay can hold and release the aroma of tea. The special feature of purple clay tea sets is absorbing the fragrance of tea when making tea. So the longer you use it, the more flavor it can absorb. The taste of tea will be better. So, here is our recommendation for you: you should use the purple clay set for one kind of tea only.
Vietnamese porcelain tea set
Tea sets made by porcelain are popular in Vietnam today, most famous is porcelain from Binh Duong, Bat Trang, Hai Duong. Porcelain tea sets are usually white, making it easy to see the color of the tea.
They are often used for green tea as porcelain pots retain heat well. With a variety of designs, most products look very beautiful and luxurious.
Vietnamese glass tea set
Because of its transparency, a glass tea set is the best ideal to enjoy the tea-brewing process. So they are often used for flower tea or herbal tea.
Glass is low-cost and easy to cast. But they are easily shattered, and your hands get scalded when you touch its wall.
Vietnamese rose quartz tea set
Rose quartz is a natural stone with many uses and meanings for the owner about Fengshui. It is believed to bring very positive energy to the house. The tea set is made of gemstones, making it unique and beautiful. In the past, aristocratic families used the tea set to express their wealth and get lucky.
Vietnamese wooden tea set
The wooden tea set is a good ideal for use as a decoration in the living room or garden of Vietnamese family. It contributes to the creation of a welcoming and harmonious family environment. It also has feng shui meanings, such as a warm, happy family.
Furthermore, the water from the teapot flowing into the cup represents the fortune that the previous generation passed on to the next.
Vietnamese copper tea set
Copper tea sets are used as very meaningful gifts, feng shui items, or to enjoy Vietnamese tea. They are regularly delicately carved.
Not all Vietnamese teapots and teacups are the same size. Teapot’s medium size is 9cm in diameter and 8cm in height. The teacup is about 6cm in diameter and 3cm in height. Small cups often serve to enjoy hot tea. We can sip a cup of hot tea slowly on cold days.
1.4. Selection criteria
For professional tea drinkers often choose seasonal tea sets.
- In autumn and winter: They will select a teapot with a hard and thick shell to retend heat better and help keep the tea warm and fresh longer.
- In summer: They will select a thinner teapot to suit hot weather.
For tea beginners, they will select plain, simple porcelain teapots. As the price is reasonable, porcelain material is easy to wash, the teapot does not absorb the flavor of tea, so it can be used to brew many different types of tea.
Related post: Vietnamese teacups: A unique part of the world
2. Vietnamese tea set for other purposes
Selection tea sets for other purposes is more simple, in accordance with each detailed situation.
2.1. Vietnamese tea set used in formal events
Vietnamese tea sets used for special guests informal occasions such as house guests, Tet holidays, weddings, funerals, etc. have a simple enamel texture but are luxurious and elegant.
These tea sets have a common feature that includes a big teapot and 4 or 6 round teacups. Almost all Vietnamese tea sets used in these cases are made from high-grade porcelain and have saucers for the teapot and each cup.
2.2. Tea set for serving tea on the sidewalks
It is easy to find is sidewalk hot tea or iced tea in Vietnam. Vietnamese people have a habit of drinking tea every time after meals or on the road to work or home, so sidewalk tea shops are open everywhere. You can see tea sets in these tea shops are in many sizes and designs. But they are often in large sizes to serve many drinkers.
A tea set may include a porcelain kettle and large cups.
Sometimes it is an aluminum kettle with glass cups.
2.3. Tea set for modern consumption
It is hard to enjoy tea in a Vietnamese traditional tea set in today’s busy life, thus a variety of convenient tea sets have been designed.
With the design of a combination of a super speed kettle and a teapot, it is a very convenient way to make tea for busy people in office.
2.4. Vietnamese mini tea set for the purpose of worship
Besides tea sets used for the above purposes, we have small mini tea sets for ancestor altars. It is a tiny tea set including one mini teapot and three mini teacups or five mini teacups.
Because of its profound spiritual significance, the worshiping tea set must be selected separately. It is allowed to use it with other household products.
Your preparation of a separate tea set on the altar demonstrates your thoughtfulness. Furthermore, it shows the descendants’ respect for the ancestors and makes the worship space more solemn.
You may want to know: How to make a good cup of tea with loose leaf at first time for beginners
We hope you can understand our tea culture through the Vietnamese tea set. Also, you can choose one suitable tea set if you enjoy Vietnamese tea.