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Finding Zen at Saigon’s unique pay-what-you-want teahouse

Thursday, August 27, 2020, 08:30 GMT+7
Finding Zen at Saigon’s unique pay-what-you-want teahouse
A person pours hot tea into a cup at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

There is a teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City destined for customers searching for private space to enjoy a cup of tea and conversation all while paying according to their satisfaction with the service.

The teahouse, Zentea, is located in a small valley on Dien Bien Phu Street, Binh Thanh District.

Zentea does not have a list of prices for the drinks that it offers. Instead, customers can decide how much they are willing to pay after drinking and using the service.

Depending on the level of customer satisfaction, they will put money into a small box placed on the shelf. The paid money will be used to maintain the teahouse’s operations.

"Zentea was launched in May 2018 with a view to creating a peaceful destination for people after days of working hard. Coming here, anyone can feel at home,” said Duong Huu Thuan, one of the young members who run the teahouse.

“You can do everything by yourself, choosing a brewing vessel, cups, and some cookies, then you can brew the tea in your favorite way."

Duong Huu Thuan (left), member of the group that runs the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, introduces the different kinds of tea and how to brew them to a customer. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Duong Huu Thuan (left), a member of the group that runs the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, introduces different kinds of tea and how to brew them to a customer. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The young people behind Zentea share a passion for the many flavors of tea and dried flowers and want to have a place to refresh after being overwhelmed with study and work.

“This is the first time I have been to the teahouse, which was introduced to me by a friend. I feel intrigued to know that customers are allowed to serve themselves and to pay at will,” said Tuong Vi, one customer who came to Zentea for the first time.

“The teahouse is surrounded by nature, which is suitable for drinking tea. The sound of flowing water soothes me a lot."

Customers at Zentea have the chance to drink warm, fragrant cups of tea and take free weekly classes on calligraphy, flower arrangement, and self-defense martial arts.

Two friends enjoy tea at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two friends enjoy tea at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A customer fills a brewing vessel with hot water from an electric kettle to brew tea by herself at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A customer fills a brewing vessel with hot water from an electric kettle to brew tea by herself at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two friends enjoy tea at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two friends enjoy tea at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Koizumi, a Japanese customer, writes calligraphy at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She has taken the calligraphy class offered at the place for half of year. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Koizumi, a Japanese customer, writes calligraphy at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She has taken the calligraphy class offered at the place for half a year. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Various kinds of tea are preserved in glass jars at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Various kinds of tea are preserved in glass jars at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two learners write calligraphy during a calligraphy class held every Thursday at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two learners write calligraphy during a calligraphy class held every Thursday at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two men train during a self-defense martial art class held every Friday at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two men train during a self-defense martial arts class held every Friday at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The notice saying 'Customers' contribution is the foundation for our teahouse's operation' at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A sign saying 'Customers' donation is the foundation for our teahouse's operations' at the Zentea teahouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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Kim Thoa - Duyen Phan - Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

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