A Tibetan elder from a nomadic district of Kham (eastern Tibet). It is believed that the Hani tea pickers of southern Yunnan (also called the Ho) at one time migrated down from the Tibetan Plateau. The irony is that during the busy centuries of the Tea Horse Road, it was the Hani teas that often made their way up ‘back home’ to the very Plateau they once occupied.
Every time we’ve offered a Bada Mountain tea (both in cooked or shou form, and in raw or sheng form) we’ve gotten great feedback. Clean teas from superb soil, made simply and consistently, Bada teas from 50 km’s west of Menghai are a tea we intend on putting on our permanent tea menu.
Ideal humidity levels, legitimate mountains with excellent drainage and tea cultivators who are both adept and caring of their teas contribute to what Jeff calls “one of the most consistent Puerhs available”.
Abandoned villages like this one in eastern Tibet are all that remain of many such communities that depended upon the trade of tea and salt along the trade routes that spanned much of China and the Himalayas.
Dense mists cover the mountains from early Spring to late autumn and within tea regions like Manmai (where this present offering is from) tea is harvested 9 months a year making tea the enterprise of local Hani and Bulang people.
Slight astringent notes that come around and finish sweet, and the ability to absorb and infuse multiple infusions make this a great example of an unfermented Puerh. This Bada carries with it the traditional strengths and flavor width that teas from this region have. Long and full flavor notes and a tendency for the sweet tangs to ebb and flow, returning again and again long after the first infusions make it a sippers dream tea…with a clean palate of course.
Young tea bushes in grow in southern Yunnan. They will not be harvested until they are at least three years old. They are the future for minorities such as the Bulang and Hani people.
The Hani, who dominate the mountain regions of Bada are also referred to as the ‘Ho’ or Akha (as they are known in Thailand) most likely at one point migrated south from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. A small irony considering many of the teas that the Hani produced for centuries made its way upon backs onto the Tibetan Plateau for the Tibetans to consume. Within the Hani people there remains the tradition of animism and ancestor worship and up until not so long ago (and remaining still in many of the more isolated villages) there would be a local herb doctor, a spiritual healer, and a headman or headwoman often making up an informal council.
A tea forest with a dirt track leading through it. Tea trees produce the most coveted teas in southern Yunnan. The older the tree, the higher the price for its tea.
One of the Jeff’s favorite alternate tea preparations is a Hani tradition whereby dried tea leaves are poured into a freshly cut bamboo husk. Fire beneath the husk boils water within where the tea is poured. After about 8 minutes a heavily cooked or stewed tea with the added influence in taste from the inside of the bamboo husk is presented. Slightly sweet and a touch of vegetal sourness, the elixir hits the palate like a claw.
This tea is another genuine ‘high altitude’ Puerh harvest coming from 40-year-old bushes at approximately 1600 metres. Bada has benefited from its extremely mountainous terrain because it has remained hard to access, which is ‘usually’ a good thing in the world of tea. Pollution is at a minimum with loads of wildlife and a large number of naturally occurring springs dotting the region. A true tea sanctuary.
- 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 tea experience.
This tea is capable of delivering many infusions using only a relatively small amount of leaves (6-9 grams minimum). Use fully boiled water, as the large leaf 'Camellia Sinensis Assamica' (Puerh) can handle the heat.
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; 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.
Don't be shy to ask me any questions about your tea leaves or anything related at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have my ears and I will get back in touch with you.