Freshly picked leaves lie in a tea field in the Naka region of southern Yunnan province.
The region of Naka is near the famed Nannuo Mountain and Meng Song areas, which are found in between the southern Yunnan capital of Jinghong and the tea stronghold of Menghai. All three of these regions’ population are dominated by the Hani minorities and have long been known for phenomenal teas.
Tea is often simply served in a glass with a small handful of tealeaves in the tea sanctuaries.
This entire Puerh producing region only started being allowed to sell its teas to outsiders in the 1990’s and so Puerhs have only really become available in the last years to a wider audience. Villages like those in Naka usually are informally run by head-families who convene to discuss all manner of tea business with the villagers and harvesting families. Prices are set, profits divvied up, and harvesting schedules set up during meetings that are intimate and regular.
Naka is an area that is famed for its ancient tea trees which annually command huge prices and is an area of great reputation in tea conversations. Within the Naka area there are tea producing villages that claim ancient plots and fields of tea cultivation though each family has slight variations in their techniques of production.
A Tibetan woman from northwestern Yunnan along a portion of the tea horse road who said, "We cannot live without our children and we cannot live without tea".
Harvested from bushes of roughly 30 years old from fields of 1500 metres our Naka is on the high scale of altitude range. Higher altitudes and lower temperatures provide a recipe for slower growth generally which benefits the plant and in the words of locals, “makes a deeper flavour”. Higher altitudes also aid in keeping a minimum of natural tea leaf predators at bay.
Naka fields and forests are known for the high levels of shading provided and local cultivators have over the years planted many trees in amongst the tea gardens to add shade to filter both rain and sun.
A drying rack atop a home in Yunnan, which is entirely made up of bamboo, rattan drying matts, and plastic to cover the leaves as they dry when rain or wind strike.
Our tea procurer Jeff loves the area and refers to its teas as “big wonders”. Teas in the region are often produced in ‘bigger batches’ where a few families will collect leaves and produce the teas together to manage the workload and consistency of the flavours and quality. In other cases tea is done in homes by one family, which form the basis for an almost artisanal tea production experience.
This is a great pick-up tea in the middle of the afternoon with its powerful and heady flavours that power into the blood. Hani people often make powerful longer infusion teas in the afternoon to prevent drowsiness and in some cases actually slow cook tea leaves to create darker and more potent servings.
For some elders what is vital isn’t the actual amount of tea consumed but the strength of each individual serving as they often prefer a strength of tea that few can tolerate.
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’ Naka Unfermented 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 Naka Unfermented Puerh ideally should not be consumed on an empty stomach as it can be powerful.
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.