Tuesday 21 March 2023

Vietnam’s premium teas now have their dedicated Tea House in Paris

Must read

PARIS, France – Currently Vietnam is the world’s number six tea producer, after China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Having invested mainly into volume with little concern about quality throughout the past years and facing recently some decline both for output and for export, the Vietnam Tea Association has decided to put more focus on quality and on promoting its traditional premium teas.

Part of this new policy targets the restoring and reviving of the North Western region’s ancient tea tree forests, a botanical treasure shared with China, Laos and India’s Assam. With the remit to take Vietnam’s premium teas and coffees to the world the private company Sobica J.S.C. was set up in Vietnam in 2015 and the French subsidiary Sobica Sodeli was founded two years later.

After a lot of preparatory work, the Sobica Tea House has opened its doors in December 2018 in downtown Paris, just a few minutes away from the Eiffel Tower, at no25 Avenue de la Tour Maubourg, in the 7th district.

Hard work for the founder Hang VU and her team, who are passionate about sharing Vietnam’s traditional ways and foods together with their premium teas and coffees.
The company sources only from small farmers, who provide their crop in line with precisely defined quality requirements. Whilst some of the tea gardens are certified organic, others cannot afford that additional cost, but their harvests are tested as fully clean, given their remote and mountainous location.

These teas and coffees will soon be available on line, however to date they are on sale in the brand-new tea shop, where Hang VU will comment the various taste profiles for the customers.

There is a range of unflavoured authentic terroir teas including black, green, oolong, white, yellow and dark teas; there is furthermore a range of teas that are flavoured with natural flowers and fruit, such as yuzu, orange, chamomile, grapefruit flower, Osmanthus. All recipes have been created by Sobica Vietnam, where most of the plant material is grown, with the exception of Yuzu, that is sourced from Japan.

Whilst handling all the preparatory process for the opening of the Tea House, Sobica has nevertheless been keen to participate in the first French Global Tea Competition, which had been launched by AVPA (l’Agence pour la Valorisation de Produits Agricoles) in spring 2018. Five of the Sobica terroir teas did indeed reap awards, which confirms their genuine and outstanding quality:

– two black teas from wild shan trees, from Tay Con Linh in Ha Giang province
– one green tea from the famous Thai Nguyen province tea villages
– two oolong teas, from Moc Chau in Son La province.

Sobica also sells premium terroir coffees and premium coffee blends, of which 5 have also been awarded at the 2015 and 2016 AVPA contest “Coffees of the World”.

Deeply involved also in the Vietnamese traditional food culture Hang VU has put together a menu for some light lunch, centred on another emblematic plant of Vietnam, the lotus. Grown in the ponds and lakes the lotus plant (Nelumbo Nucifera) had been exclusively for royal consumption during the previous centuries, but is now produced on a larger scale, which allows to share its many traditional health benefits.

Offering its beautiful and highly scented flowers that were used to flavour fine teas, the lotus plant’s roots, leaves and fruit are also edible and full of reported health benefits. At Sobica’s you can enjoy a lunch with various lotus plant ingredients and during the rest of the day there are lotus-based sweets that pair perfectly with the teas.

The place is small but the reception you get is very pleasant. The ambient takes you to exotic and far away Vietnam, a country that was under French colonial rule until 1945 and has always been renowned for warm hospitality, beautiful country side and lovely people.
Definitely a place to explore when visiting the French Capital city.

Barbara Dufrene – Tea Expert-Tea Writer

Latest article