Old Growth Tea Forests:
Old Growth Tea Forests are self-sustaining, biodiverse ecosystem untouched by clear-cutting or mono-agriculture. Centuries old tea trees grow side by side with other indigenous trees and plants in a dense, subtropical mountain forest environment. There are few such tea forests remaining in the world and most are found in Yunnan, primarily in Xishuangbanna and parts of Simao and Lincang prefectures.
Bangwei Tea Forest
The Bangwei Mountain tea forest contains many old tea trees, some stretching as far back as 1,700 years in age. It is part of the Lahu Mountain Range in the southwestern corner of Simao.
Local Ethnic Minorities
There are many communities and villages around the mountain consisting mainly of Han and Lahu families who have been working with tea for generations. The lives of the Lahu are inextricably tied to the forests of this region, which they believe to be the dwelling place of their deity Exia.
Freshly plucked leaves are pan-fired, rolled, and sun-dried to make Mao Cha (raw tea). Mao Cha is then steamed and pressed into a brick using a traditional mold and again carefully sun-dried. This tea was made in 2005, and is ideal for aging further. It will increase in complexity and aroma with each passing year. For aging, it is recommended to store the brick tea in a porous clay container in a cool, dark place with plenty of clean, slightly humid air circulation.
Approx. Size: 2.5” x 3.5” x 0.5”.
|Quality of Water||Quantity of Leaf|
(tsp / 8oz water)
|180°F (82°C)||Best with Spring water||0.5||3-5||3-4|
The first step is to separate the leaves from the brick/cake. Use a thin, flat knife to wedge between the leaves and gently pry them from the brick/cake carefully avoiding breakage where possible. If the leaf is compressed loosely, the separation can begin with the knife and be finished by hand.
One method of brewing uses about 1 to 2 grams (1 teaspoon of pre-separated compressed leaf) per 24 oz of 180 F water and a steeping time of 3 to 5 minutes. This method provides a lighter, sweet brew and about 3 or 4 re-infusions. Porcelain, glass and well-seasoned yixing teapots work best for this infusion style.
Puer tea can be brewed in a variety of styles. For more information, see our section on "Brewing Old Growth Puer."