The manager of my apartment building insisted I share a hot cup of Vietnamese green tea with him as I was leaving earlier. His name is Luy, and he is from Hanoi, but he manages the building I am staying at here in Da Nang. He uses only fresh tea leaves which he gets from a village just outside of Hanoi, and mixes a bit of fresh cinnamon stick with it. I find it quite bitter, but he is so excited and happy with it that I don't tell him this, lol. I really appreciate that he wants to share some with me. He pours it into tiny cups...which I'm thankful they are tiny...and we talk about my bus trip yesterday to Laos. He speaks pretty good English but we don't always understand what each of us is saying exactly. I try to make my English more simplified by not using too many past tenses and also we don't go into conversation about anything that is not fairly simple to relay. He is a very friendly and helpful young man and he calls me "Miss Carol"...which I actually love. I have not been a "Miss" back in Canada for a very long time, and so it just seems cute to me to hear.
This tea is very healthy he tells me. And I believe him. I can also see how it could become delicious...as in an "acquired taste" kinda way. I love watching how he makes it, as he does so with both a tradition and a reverence. He first pours a bit of boiling water over the tea leaves in a teapot, swishes it around very gently for a moment and then dumps that water out. So it's like a little rinse. Then he pours some more boiling water into the pot and adds a little bit of cinnamon that he snaps off from a lovely and very fragrant stick of it. It is fresh too and grown locally. We wait just a few minutes while tea leaves and cinnamon steep together in the pot and then he pours it into our little cups. With a flourish he tips his cup back and almost instantly his is gone and I do the same, only a little slower as I take two drinks to finish mine off, haha! The bitterness hits my palate and he wants to pour me another one but I say no thank you as I'm on my way to go have coffee. Which is true. I have shared 3 cups of this tea before with him on another day, and I know the longer it steeps the more bitter to me it becomes. It was really so hospitable for him to offer me this tea...and I am very appreciative and grateful for it. I am for now though sticking to my elixer of black tea mixed with lots of honey and milk, lol. So super nice to have such a great landlord though! Thank you Luy!!
At the "Charming Beauty Homestay", Da Nang, Vietnam
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