It is back to basics with our Bada Mountain fermented Puerh as we introduce JalamTeas’ first ‘black’ Puerh. Taking our original unfermented Bada cake I’ve chosen to make a fermented version as the Bada leaves were a super find last year.
One of Jeff's tea buddies is a Bada Tea advocate.
The Bada Mountains lie in southwestern Yunnan and are home to some of the planet’s most ancient tea forests. Our fermented cake is a great introduction into the world of fermented Puerhs, which are known for their smooth and earthy flavours and less potent quantities of caffeine.
A small tea production plant near Bada Mountain. Each home inevitably has an area where tea is produced.
Bada tea leaves lie drying under a protective awning where the sun and wind will completely dry the leaves in less than a day.
This easy tea can be consumed on an empty stomach without the acidic effects that many new green unfermented Puerh’s have.
Our tea was harvested by Hani and Pulang pickers and the leaves are what are called ‘sen tai’ here in China – tea bushes and trees that are between 20-60 years old.
The fermenting process which oxidizes green tea leaves and turns them dark is one where the leaves are kept in a controlled environment where humidity is a constant level, and the leaves are three times daily. Then the tea is dried, steamed to make the leaves pliant and then formed into cakes.
Tea leaves are carefully sorted to ensure not only quality but also consistency. This process goes on in every tea producing town on the planet but it isn't often the case with a lot of bulk manufactured teas that are processed in huge factory warehouses.
Freshly harvested Bada tea leaves lie in wait...to be sipped.
The fermentation process removes much of the antioxidant potency of tea but in turn creates teas that are generally smoother and less astringent and vegetal. Locals drink it when feeling fever, hung-over, or as a nighttime tea due to the less intense stimulant effects of the tea. It serves as a great post dinner digestive tea as well.
All of our Bada tea is plucked between 1700-2000 metres by hand. Many fermented ( called ‘shou’ in Mandarin, meaning ‘cooked’) Puerhs are additionally stored in underground chambers to infuse the tea with an earthy pungency. Our Jalamteas’ Puerh does not go through this process. For fermented teas the leaves and stems are not of so much importance as the process of fermenting the leaves tends to beat them up slightly. Puerhs can be aged and as part of their ageing process Puerhs tend to become smoother and ‘flatter’ as time goes by.
Hope you enjoy our first black ‘cooked’ Puerh.
- Jeff Fuchs
While we encourage each drinker to tinker with infusion times and amounts of tea used according to taste, the below is a good base from which to begin the Jalamteas’ Bada Fermented Puerh tea experience. If this is your first tea cake, here is a step-by-step guide on how to break and prepare a tea cake.
Use fully boiled water, as the large leaf 'Camellia Sinensis Assamica' (Puerh) can handle the heat. Fermented tea is generally far less intense in terms of stimulant effects so it acts as a great evening tea.
We recommend not less than 6 grams per serving. Ideally 8 grams. Locals in southern Yunnan will use as much as 12 grams and wring out more than a dozen infusions, keeping the infusion times relatively short.
When the tongue ceases to enjoy an infusion's strength, that is the time to begin anew with a fresh load of leaves. Our Bada Fermented Puerh can be consumed on an empty stomach with no ill aftereffects.
Don't be shy to ask me any questions about your tea leaves or anything related at [email protected]. You have my ears and I will get back in touch with you.