Two Pulang women of southwestern Yunnan come back from harvesting leaves from the fields. The Pu or Pulang are some of the planet's oldest cultivators.
JalamTeas returns to our roots with our latest ‘green’ unfermented offering: Zhang Lang: another town and another tea that gets precious little notice simply because so few actually have heard of - or consumed – it.
What the freshly clipped Zhang Lang tea leaves look like.
Zhang Lang is a small region near the Bada Mountains of southern Yunnan that has long produced great and slightly sweet unfermented Puerhs. It is another tea that rarely makes it out of the region that produces it, and Jeff has long wanted to put it out there on the tea radar of drinkers. Comparing it to our previous unfermented releases, it is a nice blend of the fragrant Nannuo tea, while having some of the lasting power of the Meng Song, but it is – as always – for our drinkers to determine.
Leaves have their last bits of moisture expunged from them.
Zhang Lang is a tea with a great fragrance, and though ever so sweet, its strength and tannins remain in the mouth long after it has been sipped. Harvested from medium tea trees (30-70 years old), by the ancient Pu or Pulang people it is an excellent tea to age due to the tradition of the Pulang to create teas with strength. Medium aged tea trees almost always produce teas with slightly more astringency and bite than their more ancient relatives. In the case of the Zhang Lang this quality actually assists adding some power to the inherent sweetness of the Zhang Lang leaves.
A small tea production plant near Bada Mountain. Each home inevitably has an area where tea is produced.
As with so many of the teas and tea regions that JalamTeas sources and seeks out, to actually get to area is in itself an adventure. The leaves of our Zhang Lang are harvested from a zone between 1700 and 1900 metres and it is a great mid-afternoon tea to revive with its unique fragrance and impact on the gums.
Zhang Lang leaves get aerated by simply gently lifting them up and allowing oxygen to pass between their leaves.
Picked in March of 2012, our Zhang Lang unfermented Puerh has had a year to ‘establish’ its own character. The Pulang people put aside teas 16 months or so before consuming to allow the dried leaves to develop and fix their character. The slightly red earth of the Zhang Lang area is noted for its rich nutrient content which provides an ideal home for tea’s deep roots.
Jeff doing what he does with freshly drying leaves.
Jeff is a huge fan of the Pulang people’s teas as they are traditionally quite simple and direct when consumed and produced. Their teas have always had great raw materials from which to begin, and over time the methods of production and attention to detail have only improved.
We hope you will enjoy our latest Zhang Lang offering from the deep south of Yunnan.
- Jeff Fuchs
A resulting batch of Zhang Lang before they are formed and molded into tea cakes.
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’ Zhang Lang tea experience. 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.
When Puerh teas ‘age’ their colour deepens and becomes slightly less vegetal, but they will ‘feel’ stronger. We suggest trying to find a taste (and not necessarily a ‘colour’) that suits the palate.
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. You have my ears and I will get back in touch with you. I would also love hear your thoughts on this Zhang Lang. I invite you to share your questions and reviews below.