A Tibetan woman from Gyalthang (in northwestern Yunnan) who once said that “the days all begin with cold and the only warmth comes from the first cups of tea”.
Our attendance at the recent Toronto Tea Festival was a treat in that we were able to at last field some questions directly and hear back from some of our members. What they remarked on echoed what we’ve heard time and again from members of ours from every continent: “Bada teas are Great!”. Though we don’t often offer cooked Puerhs very often there is nothing like a Bada. Smooth and full of infusions the tea quality is exceptional and the processing brilliant. The teas and region are a superb examples of how a little tea hub can develop enough consistency and still retain some wonderful originality and strength in their brews.
A tea cake with the leafy version of an ice pick. Great for whittling away at stubborn or too tightly compressed cakes this took is common (and often lethal) in southern Yunnan.
Earthy without the musty fragrance, our Bada offering is a perfect winter warmer tea. Smooth enough to take on an empty stomach, the Bada is lower on the stimulant caffeine scale. The Bada Mountains are an epicenter of ancient and new tea growth in both bush and arboreal form. We’ve offered Bada teas in both raw and ripe forms and have never heard anything but great feedback. Every harvest, every season and every year carries a slightly altered flavor range but all retain that ultra-smooth and clean feel that our selections of Bada carry. We love variations and teas that bring a range of flavours, and Bada does this while retaining its clean character.
A stone tablet in central Yunnan paying tribute to both horse and the Tea Horse Road. Tea and horses were both exchanged and inextricably bound as the tea needed carriers to usher over land routes.
Harvested by both Hani and Bulang hands in the heavily forested and ideal humid conditions at close between 1300 and 1400 metres this Bada is a tea entirely for the ‘now’ in terms of consumption. It has had plenty of time to settle. From leaves between 20-60 years old, there remains many of the small welcome younger buds and leaves in this cake selection.
A common ‘gimmick’ in Yunnan is to embed an intact tea leaf in a tea cake, suggesting that somehow the presence of such a leaf ensures a more authentic drinking experience.
You might notice a slight tannin stain on the tea wrapping around the cake. This is nothing to be worried about. It is simply some of the teas being wrapped when there was still humidity or moisture on the leaves. Sometimes too, the wonderful hands that wrap the cakes have retained some of the tannins. There isn’t anything ‘untea’ish’ on the paper to worry about.
Every time a tea is served, water temperature, one’s palate, the time of day is slightly varied making each and every serving of tea something a little different. It is in this slight variation that the magic occurs.
The basic difference between a ripe Bada (darker in colour) cake like this present offering and a raw cake is that the ripe has humidity and the addition of bacteria added to it to help the cake ‘age’ or ferment. Loose leaves left in careful piles about a foot thick are sprayed with light doses of water, while the room is kept at a specific humidity level. The result after days of this is a smooth ‘artificially’ aged tea with less of the stimulant compounds of the raw left over.
None of JalamTeas’ ripe Puerhs are stored in earthen caves that impart the heavy earthen flavor that some teas are treated to. This is simply a choice we’ve made to keep the flavours cleaner and more simple. Though we love a little pungency, we’ve decided that a little is better than a lot.
- 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 8-10 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.
Our Bada Fermented Puerh can be consumed on an empty stomach with no ill after effects and can be infused many many times. It is one of those teas that seems to thrive with multiple infusions without suffering. Enjoy our February Bada offering.
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.