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Between tea and coffee

Much of the charm of Paris is owed to La Rotonde and La Closerie des Lilas in Montparnasse, Cafe de Flore and Deux Magots Saint Germain — des — Rnées, and the innumerable small coffee shops along the pavements of the city.
 
Just the other day, to help him overcome his nostalgia for coffee, which is part of the everyday life in his home country, I took French writer Alan Dugrant to one of the more frequented cafes in Ha Noi located at the end of the old Onion Street, about one hundred metres from the beautiful Lake of the Returned Sword.
 
There were none of those customary zincs; terraced gardens or round marble tables, but my friend was betwitched by the exotic charm of the place with its trellises on which flowers of a purple colour were blooming, its wood booth blackened by use, its small rattan tables and chairs littering the pavement, its cosy comers seen in a subdued light.
 
The particularly strong coffee he was served evoked to him memories of the good old days because since the Fifties the French coffee has become weaker and weaker, in the manner of the Italians. The Vietnamese meanwhile continue to make coffee in the same way they learned from the French at the end of the last century.
 
Coffee was introduced into Vietnamese some time after the coming of the French. But until then it had been accepted only in the towns and only by the well-to-do, intellectuals and artists for that matter. The majority of the population particularly the peasantry remained loyal to tea.
 
In ancient Việt Nam, visitors were customarily welcomed with betel and tea. Even today, tea remains very common. Of course, the Vietnamese prefer their own brew to Chinese or Japanese tea. They drink chè tươi (made from fresh leaves and called green tea). (See the Unforgettable Bowl of Green Tea), che kho (dried tea), che man (grilled tea) or che hat (made from tea seeds). The best kind comes the region of Thai Nguyen.
 
Tea drinking in Viet Nam has not evolved into a philosophical religious ritual as in Japan and China. Nonetheless, it has become a passion for many aesthetes. There is a very well-known story written by Nguyen Tuan, about a tea connoisseur who would brew his tea only with rain water collected at one particular pagoda nestled on the slope of a hill a dozen kilometers from his home.
 
Try Vietnamese tea once through Jasmine cruise Halong
 
 
 
 
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Update : 30-05-2017

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