Cassia, Ginger and Wild Tea in Vietnam
Tuesday 30 April 2019
Our Supplier Relationships Manager Matt Richards went out to Vietnam earlier in late 2018 to visit current and potential suppliers of wild tea, cassia and ginger. There are two main varieties of wild tea trees in this region of Yen Bai and we supply both - as seen in our Nam Lanh black tea and Pin ho Jade green tea. Read more below.
"The more you visit a country the more you feel like you understand the place, the culture and the plants. Which is really important when trying to work with the right people for Organic Herb Trading and to understand the quality of the plants that we are looking for. Regional variations, processing methods and varieties all play their part in the end product that we receive and it’s our job to understand all these factors to get what we need. And of course we always look to build long lasting relationships with the people who fit best with what we do at Organic Herb Trading.
Our trip was focused in the north of the country, above Hanoi. In the north east we met with ginger growers collaborating with the local government, agriculture focused non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and exporters. This collaboration meant that the farmers were supported and the supply chain has value all the way from the field to us as a potential buyer. It was amazing standing in the fields of ginger with all these different perspectives, and most crucially the farmer having a voice in the conversation.
We also met with our long term partners in the central north, where we buy wild tea and Cassia. Each time we visit we learn something new about the trees, harvesting and what makes the product good quality. There are 2 main varieties of wild tea trees endemic to this region of Yen Bai and we receive both in our finished product. Interestingly, they look very different but have the same flavour profile.
Availability and security in supply is also crucial to us so we focused on making sure there was enough plant material to be sustainably harvested for us in the coming years. We were really shocked to also see the damage that flooding had caused at the end of last year. This is becoming a recurring theme, with the same catastrophic events happening in Kerala (where we source some of our spices from) at a similar time. We are hearing that these events are a very recent thing and becoming more common - and without hesitation the cause is being attributed to climate change. For these countries living with the devastating impacts of extreme weather the focus is on adaptation. Ensuring good tree cover at all times on the steep valleys to maintain stability in the soil and thinking long term about soil fertility."
Visit our tea pages or contact us to find out more about the products we source in Vietnam on +44 (0) 1823 401 205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.