We would like to present our production in greater detail here. As the first place we have visited on our journey for tea was Bada mountains, it will be the first cake about which we write here too. We will also taste the pressed cake during writing this text.
Harvested leaves are left for several hours to wilt.
Two visually different leaves - taidi on the left, gushu on the right (Zhang Lang, Bada shan)
As we have mentioned in the last article, Bada shan is home to huge amount of taidi or qiaomu, most trees come from 80s of the 20th century.
A house of Bulang people:
Harvest of taidi cha, older trees here though.
Ancient and freely growing gushu tea trees grow only around three villages, inhabited by the Bulang minority. These are Zhang Lang - one of the largest and the oldest villages of Bulang, and the villages of Manmai and Manpana. According to our information, many gushu trees around Manmai village were cut or shortened and the gushu tea gardens are smaller. Also, the village is farther. We know even less about the Manpana village, which is the reason why we have chosen the maocha of the Zhang Lang village and we look forward to getting to know Manmai and Manpana in person and that we will compare the tastes of these tree villages soon.
The Zhang Lang village:
Small buildings used to store rice and other food.
A landmark in Zhang Lang village:
Tea is not the only important crop in Bada, the sugar cane is very important too.
Why is tea declared as "dashu" (big trees) instead of "gushu"? The reason is that even though we have harvested most of the leaves with "our" farmer, we have seen him harvest even old trees which were cut recently, but also trees about 50 years of age, which are large, but definitely gushu - qiaomu instead. The material is approximately 70% uncut gushu and 30% cut gushu or the 50 years old growing among the gushu trees.
Several photos of gushu trees around the Zhang Lang village:
Even though we have tried to have the material as pure as possible, it was impossible to harvest more gushu these days and so we had to wait 7-10 days before contining the harvest.
Freely growing old tea trees grow mostly on steep slopes of mountains around the village and the harvest in Zhang Lang village was very difficult for us.
The material has been harvested from two places and comes from two families. We have harvested mostly the tips and 2-3 leaves. The processing of maocha is perfect; as usually is when made by Bulang people.
The maocha is processed mostly during evenings, there is rolling by hand and "kill green" on the photo:
This text is approaching its end and so does our first tasting of this tea. How is it then? I used 8g of tea, 90cc gaiwan and short steeping times. Compared to the maocha, it has fuller and more complex taste. The tea is quite strong, rich, stimulating.
Citrus trees dominate the taste, along with flowers. There is a special aroma, appearing also in the aftertaste, the best description I can give is the aroma of leaves of citrus trees. The pleasant bitterness appearing at the beginning quickly transforms to sweet and long aftertaste. The tea gives rather many consistent good infusions. This cake is suitable for long-term storage.
This is how the cake looks like:
You can find more photos on the website of our e-shop: Chawangshop