Ta Xua, H’mong’s hidden gem and treasure

For many years, Ta Xua tea forest, hidden in thick clouds, has helped H'mong people escape proverty and financially improved their lives.
March 24, 2021 | 15:01
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About 15km away from Bac Yen District, Son La, Ta Xua is the name of a mountain and also the name of a commune of Mong people. The mountain is the natural border between two provinces of Yen Bai and Son La, Ta Xua has 3 mounts together a majestic wonder as the spine of the prehistoric dinosaur. According to the experience of the tea experts, tea area of Mong people is always the best because they normally live in high mountain where is covered with fog all year round with high humidity and very suitable for the growth and development of ancient Shan Tuyet tea and Ta Xua is such a place!

Ta Xua is dubbed the paradise of cloud. (Photo: Vietnamnet)

The fanciful land is situated at an altitude of 1,500-3,000 meters and covered in 140,000 hectares of ancient Snow Shan tea trees. Thanks to the essence of heaven, the cool year-round climate and being clothed in sunlight and clouds, tea trees produce a signature flavor, becoming the indigenous’ precious product. More importantly, cooperation with businesses has contributed to the Hmong’s success and stable output of their harvests.

Young millionaire Mua A Kenh (Ta Xua village, Bac Yen) currently owns three hectares of Snow Shan tea plant, and two hectares allocated by the State for protection and exploitation.

Back in 2018, he transformed 1 hectare of land for low-yield short-term food crops into one for tea cultivation. He revealed that the product has sold at high prices. Last year, hid profit was around 300 million VND from tea sales.

Ta Xua, H’mong’s hidden gem and treasure
Hidden in the "paradise of cloud", is H'mong people’s tea forest. (Photo: Vietnamnet)

Mr. Kenh also shared that Ta Xua tea is sold for its natural, subtle and pleasant acrid savor, long-lasting sweetness, and aftertaste that lingers on the tip of your tongue, Vietnamnet reported.

“Dried tea sale was not very profitable. Representatives from enterprises after observing the tea processing being manually done. Lest it did not meet food safety requirements, they decided to offer us a linking production and guarantee higher-yielding crops. We the poor immediately accepted," Mua A Lu (Mong Vang village, Ta Xua commune), recalled.

A Lu’s life before 2017 was challenging since tea was only priced at 20,000 VND/kg by traders. However, since joining production, the selling price has been stable at 50,000-60,000 VND/kg of fresh tea buds, which is 2-3 times higher than the previous selling price.

With 60 old tea roots, each year, minus additional expenses, his family earns tens of millions, creating the main source of income.

Engaging in cooperation has reshaped the fate of Ta Xua Shan tea. (Photo: Vietnamnet)

Along Vietnam, each region has its own characteristics and this has created the natural specialties typical for such regions. Growing in the area at the altitude of approximate 2,000 m above the seawater level where is covered with cloud all year round with high humidity, pure and cool climate, Ta Xua tea has the typical of being fresh and big and covered with snow more ancient tea in other regions. The high contents of tamins of from 39.1% – 40.5% and dissolved substances of 49.1 – 50.2% in the soil have created the special taste for Shan Tuyet Ta Xua Tea, Son La.

Ancient Shan Tuyet Ta Xua tea trees are low, big with wide canopy which is narrower on the top. This ancient tea tree grows naturally and has white buds, yellow branch, the tea leaves are bigger than those in other ancient Shan Tuyet Tea regions. Tea buds after processing still remain white fuzz containing many micronutrients good for the health.

After harvesting, the tea is sold to an associated enterprise. (Photo: Vietnamnet)

Tea pressing in the past was only done in China (Puer tea) due to its complexity. But it has become viable today in Vietnam.

Ta Xua has witnessed a massive transformation since the cooperation among local authorities, farmers and enterprises, forming a strong bond throughout the past 5 years.

According to information from Ta Xua Tea Cooperative, there are 300 out of the total 500 households here planting and exploiting tea, with about 178 hectares of Snow Shan tea in a closed production chain.

The more ancient tea trees one owns, the richer one can get. (Photo: Vietnamnet)

The freshly harvested tea buds will be put into a tea processing line with modern technical processes applied in combination with the locals’ mastery to create high quality finished products. The unbranded Shan tea has become a national 4-star item.

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