Yunnan Ancient Arbor Puer Cha

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Our travels began in the Xishuangbanna 西雙版納 region of Yunnan Province. Up the hills of Nannoushan 南糯山 for the first harvests of Puer Cha we found trees that have been harvested for many generations.

Father harvests below, son above in an ancient arbor tea forest (mother in next tree over!)
After harvest the leaves are processed and left to dry in the sun.
Stone, our guide from Forest Cafe in Jinghong, leans for the perfect photo

One week in Yunnan is merely enough for a quick glimpse into the world where tea began. But it is a start. Tea trees grow “wild” throughout the entire province, reminding us that these are in fact trees, not just an agricultural product arranged neatly in rows. We call these Ancient Arbor Tea because they tie us to the ways of the past. The past, however, is never separate from the present. Three hundred year old trees are surrounded by plantation trees. Granted, some of these plantations are old in themselves, but they do not curl and stretch up to the sky with perches for tea pickers eight feet in the air. Is there any difference in the tea anyway?

It’s a good question. It’s one that requires a lot of tasting and environmental research.  Sounds good to me.

Fresh Puer (Mao Cha) Tea tasting in Hanghzhou

Tea Selection at Stone Leaf Tea

After this late March visit to Xishuangbanna, we will add multiple puer teas to our menu and our upcoming web selection. This year, Yunnan experienced the worst drought in sixty years.  This inevitably delayed the harvest, lowered the quantity of supply, and raised prices. Still, after our visit to Nannuoshan, we have tasted the fresh tea from the source, and cannot resist. The nature of puer requires patience, so it will be two months before they will be available…more on the aging of puer another time.

Nannoushan Spring 2010 pressed teacake