Xin Chào! Our first Vietnamese company is located in the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City. Besides being a popular tourist destination with amazing food they also have great tea. Hatvala brings teas to us from small farms with unique names.
- Exploring, discovering, sourcing and developing teas of taste and character from Vietnam
Most popular company tea(s)?
- Selling both locally and overseas we find the popularity of our teas varies
considerably by geography. The most popular tea with overseas customers is Red
Buffalo oolong although other oolongs also sell well as do white and dark teas. In
Vietnam, green, white, dark and flower scented teas are most popular with Tiger
Monkey green tea as the standout top seller.
Does the company name have a meaning?
- Our company name is derived from the Vietnamese words for bean (hạt) and leaf
(lá). Hạt và Lá translates to Bean and Leaf. This reflects the original intention to
source both tea and coffee. Coffee is now a very small part of our business – and
for sale in Vietnam only.
Do you participate in any charities?
- Yes. We support wildlife animal rescue at Animals Asia.
What is your (or any of your other co- workers’) favorite tea?
- As we are testing and tasting tea on an ongoing basis it is difficult to single out any
individual tea. Favorites tend to be point in time according to mood. season and
availability. Right now, we are particularly enjoying Purple Rain green tea and
Water Genie dark tea.
What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?
- There is plenty of room for improvement. For high volume, price driven
commodity tea, the big issue as we see it are the poor pay and conditions of farm
workers. For specialty teas the main problem would be adulteration and
misrepresentation of products – are you getting what you paid for? It is not
uncommon for tea from Vietnam to be exported to China or Taiwan and then sold
on as a product from that country at a far higher price. As we only source direct
from producers who we have relationships with an meet on a regular basis, we are
100% satisfied with the provenance of our own teas.
What role does tea play in our lives?
- There are many reasons that people love to drink tea. We believe tea’s original
popularity is due to the psychoactive effects that generate calmness and alertness.
Our own philosophy is to try to make tea accessible to all-comers rather than
focusing on traditional or spiritual aspects. If there is one extraordinary feature of
tea, it is its ability to act as a social lubricant whether that is a means for
welcoming guests, sharing dreams and ideas or in helping to solve problems.
Anything else you’d like to add?
- Although our objective is to find the best teas from wherever we can in Vietnam,
we have a special relationship with those crafted in small batches from ancient/
wild tea trees that grow in the mountainous provinces of northern Vietnam, close
to the border with China. It is by no means an exclusive focus but is an area of
business where we have a particular emotional connection. We are particularly
proud of several wild grown teas which we have been able to work closely with
tea-makers to bring to market.
TeaTiff Picks: Forest Genie Dark Tea. The name conjures images of a luscious forest of wild tea trees and in the midst a solitary genie that will grant you one wish. This dark tea will make your mouth water just by reading the description. And because I live in Minnesota I feel I have to pay tribute to the name Purple Rain.