Our Nan Nuo tea was selected deliberately to bring new, more mellow sensations to our drinkers, following our previous more potent Meng Song. The Nan Nuo Mountain Puerhs were some of the very first Puerhs I consumed years ago when exploring the region. The Nan Nuo teas are grown in some of Menghai’s oldest bastions of tea tree growth and the local know-how has grown hugely since the region’s tea market was opened up in the 1990’s.
Tea leaves, freshly picked, and fried, lie drying in the very informal surroundings of a Hani home upon Nan Nuo Mountain.
Grown between 1,300-1400 meters, our Nan Nuo tea is mellow and fragrant. If a more potent dose is needed, it is simply a case of adding more leaves and steeping for longer. It is one of the easiest of the Puerh’s to enjoy because of this malleability and accessibility.
Kettles of water wait for the moment when they're needed to 'feed' the tea.
An elder sits near the fire after a day of plucking the 'eternal green'.
Nan Nuo Mountain is a massive range with many tea villages dotting the ridgelines and valleys, and the Hani people in the region were some of the very first of the indigenous growers to ‘perfect’ post-picking tea production methods.
Located thirty minutes by easy drive outside the city of Menghai, the mountain eventually becomes better accessed by motorbike and foot, rather than by automobile, and this somehow seems appropriate to a great tea region.
In the region of Nan Nuo, each home and family has its own ‘mini-production’ facility located on the first floor, so not only does a village’s tea have distinct characteristics, each homestead’s tea is also known for particular qualities or strengths.
The ancient tea forests that make up much of the Nan Nuo range are owned and cared for by specific families, who have ‘inherited’ the plots of green goodness. In the region, there is very little else to support the Hani people besides tea and I’ve long marveled at how their one ‘product’ has in recent years been able to single-handedly bring villages out of poverty.
After fresh tea leaves are fried the withered forms are hand rolled to expunge yet more moisture, before being carefully spread out to dry.
I’ve selected the Nan Nuo tea not only for the ‘ease’ of enjoying it, but also because of the long years of getting to know the growers and the teas’ qualities themselves and watching the tea’s themselves evolve. It is a region that has only improved with time, even though the area has always had tremendous raw materials.
High on the mountain, tea bushes and trees share the terroir.
Younger tea plants are sometimes simply groomed for a time period, after which they will be considered fit to provide tea leaves for teas that sometimes make it to JalamTeas final picks.
The tea has a wonderfully light but present vegetal bite and is a great tea to sip right now. The Hani, refer to tea as ‘la’ or ‘lè’.
Nan Nuo Mountain has a number of highlights but one of the pinnacles is a series of ‘king’ and ‘queen’ ancient tea trees that lie protected within the great forests. Long worshipped by the animist Hani, the longevity of the tea trees is a symbol of the eternally beneficial relationship between elements within the natural world.
One of the marvellous 'elders' of Nan Nuo Mountain. Ancient tea trees don't always mean great tea, but they do mean that the area or region has a history - perhaps centuries old - and in these parts, a 'history' is a pretty good precedent.
I’ve eaten dozens upon dozens of meals up in these ‘hills’, spent nights within the homes here and inevitably slurped liters of wonderful ‘bitter green’, and am happy with the knowledge that we at JalamTeas can now give give the tea – and its people – a wider audience.
- 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 Nan Nuo 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. Using more rather than less will in some cases bring the lighter Nan Nuo flavours into the mouth more quickly.
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 [email protected]. You have my ears and I will get back in touch with you.