Ba Ma Sheng





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Ba Ma Sheng

Nannuo Mountain’s Treasure

Content

Quick Facts
The Story 
Suggested Serving 

Quick Facts

  • Ba Ma Sheng (Raw)
  • Region: Nannuo Mountain (Ba Ma Village)
  • Type: High Altitude Puerh (1500-1700 meters)
  • Harvest: Spring 2019
  • Harvesters: Hani minorities
  • No need to rinse the first infusion as the source is excellent. An excellent morning tonic with beautiful notes.

The Story

  Within each mountain region of Yunnan (and particularly within the Puerh growing regions) there are different designations, descriptions, and terms used in describing a tea. These designations go from being general references to that age of the source bushes and trees, to the region or area from which the leaves come from to reputed qualities of the leaf.

Sitting and sampling tea in China is far more than sipping. Conversations, meals, comparisons and discussions about tea’s wider world are all part of a ‘tea sitting’. This particular sitting was done in Yunnan and the gentleman serving, ‘Ranger’, has one of those palates that fully understands what each region’s teas should be known for.

  For many, a Nannuo Mountain tea brings with it a certain reference and flavour points. The Nannuo Mountain area hosts many villages that produce Puerh, households that produce Puerh, and blends of Puerh.

  We’re trying to bring a little more specificity to the region and there aren’t many better villages of Puerh production (anywhere in southern Yunnan) than Ba Ma (also called Bang Ma by some). One of the highest zones with some of the oldest tea tree forests, Ba Ma teas have often been restricted to us being able to offer because of price and amounts harvested. This year we’re chuffed to be able to offer an old tree Ba Ma Sheng from this past 2019 Spring harvest.

A meal discussing tea in Menghai can be had with other beverages…here with some clear local whisky and some cooked Puerh in a tasting glass. Meals are part of the ‘business’ of tea, part of the offering and part of the exchange. One hopes this aspect of tea procurement doesn’t change anytime soon. It links the world of the leaf with that of the human realm.

  Harvested and produced by local Hani people from forests at well over 1500 metres, Ba Ma teas offer up some of the classic Nannuo characteristics: easy drinking, slight floral with some ‘sweetness’ and depth. The orange soils of Nannuo Mountain are noted for their heavy clay content which helps the soil retain water. Nannuo teas are known in Yunnan as easy to drink and accessible, carrying some vegetal notes and a slight sweetness in the finish. Ba Ma teas carry these notes, with some additional strength and slightly malty notes (even with this fresh offering).


Tea leaves following a rainfall, with the middle leaf showing some of telltale signs of ‘purple’ flush.

The gentleman on the right said words that made our tea procurer, Jeff, swoon during an expedition in the Himalayas. “What is a day that doesn’t begin with tea”. Indeed...

  This is a fresh classic from our favourite Nannuo Mountain village. Up until recent years, Ba Ma was sometimes inaccessible by road during the rainy summer months because of landslide risks. Long isolated, Ba Ma teas are now becoming known to a wider swath of drinkers. It is an inevitable consequence of isolation and great raw materials, that teas will end of being classics, ‘if’, they are made well and made available.

 

Tea leaves following a rainfall, with the middle leaf showing some of telltale signs of ‘purple’ flush.

  We are simply referring to this Ba Ma selection as Nannuo Mountain’s Treasure and urge a full sampling when it arrives to you. It is one of this year’s true treats. Though ageing Puerhs is part of its appeal, this tea is well worth a sample entirely fresh, when it still zings with vegetal strength and ‘qi’. It is a tea that is mellow and carries deep notes and subtle tones and we suggest a first sip in the morning on an empty stomach before anything has touched the palate. We also recommend for this tea (like other well made Sheng or raw Puerhs) not pitching out the first infusion. Sip it. It carries some of the magic that an old tree Puerh should carry and it is both a flavour and feel that is unique. The production of such teas is deliberately kept simple and detailed to keep the terroir component in the notes intact. Low smokeless heat with a light pan frying, done by a master keeps the process simple so as not to manipulate the leaves so much, as to transport them intact to the cup. This tea is a genuine classic and we very much hope that you ‘feel’ this particular offering.

Enjoy our this sheng offering.

Suggested Serving

  Play and tinker with infusion times with our Ba Ma Old Tree Sheng and play with the leaf amounts. This Sheng does not necessarily require a first rinse. Our procurer Jeff loves to take old tree Sheng’s first infusions down, particularly when he knows that the teas have been well produced. Smooth vegetal strength with some malty tones, this is a tea carrying a strong ‘qi’ component.

  If this is your first tea cake, here is a step-by-step guide on how to break and prepare a tea cake.

  We recommend not less than 6 grams per serving with 8-12 recommended. Shorter infusion times with more leaves are the way in southern Yunnan’s Puerh cultivating regions and we’re in agreement that philosophy. Use fully boiled water for infusing.

    • First rinse infusion - It should be approximately 15-20 seconds and not thrown away. It is a consumable infusion.
    • Second infusion - 15-25 seconds or more depending on taste.
    • Third and fourth infusion - We recommend increasing times by 10 and 20 seconds per infusion
    • Fifth and sixth infusion - Add 30 second to the infusions.  

Read all about, and tips, for storing your puerh collection.

Don't be shy to ask me any questions about your tea leaves or anything related at jeff@jalamteas.com. You have my ears and I will get back in touch with you.