Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Story About Mansong Pu Erh Of Yibang Tea Mountain (2)

Mansong Pu Erh tea absorbs the essence of the heaven and earth. Spring buds with small leave, really don’t look like the larger leave species, however, it has mild and delicate taste, long-lasting tea flavor. The green tea leaves in the clay pots sometimes are dancing and sometimes are quite and stand still like a leave in the deep pond. Every vegetation has its soul. I’m wondering that, was the tea leaves poetic lady falling into the earth or a wealthy and gifted gentleman wondering about all corners of the country. After all, it’s extraordinary. 
In the history, a catastrophe once happened in the Prince Mountain. In order to escape the killing of the rulers of the Qing Dynasty, a 16-year-old prince of Nanming family (Nanming is a regime founded in the Southern China by the members of the royal family and dignitaries of the Ming Dynasty escaped from Beijing) went and seek refuge from the grandchild of the king of tribute tea with the help of his servants. The grandchild of the king of tribute tea withdrew from society and lived in solitude to protect the boy. Afterwards, the grandchild of the king of tribute tea buried the prince of the Nanming regime. Then, this mountain was called as the Prince Mountain. The horizontal inscribed board with “Rui Gong Tian Chao” was burnt down before the death of the grandchild of the king of tribute tea. The glory of Mansong pu erh tea disappeared with the predestined relationship between the emperor and his officials. The ruin of Yibang was caused by a conflict between ethnic minorities. People of Youle Mountain revolted and attacked Yibang. Yibang was being burnt down after a fire lasting for about three days and nights, left nothing in ancient town built for hundreds of years.  
Tea farmers of Yibang couldn’t be traced any more. In Late Qing Dynasty, tea farmers should present 5,000 Kg tea to royal court and 10,000 Kg tea to officials with all kinds of level, which was a heavy burden to the farmers. The farmers of the Prince Mountain within an area 25 Km in circumference cannot bear the burden, therefore, they cut down the tea trees and escaped, and never returned to Mansong. The local tea farmers have left Mansong however the migrants who later came from Shiping and  Sichuan  were not good at tea-planting, thus, the annual output of no more than 100 Kg pu erh tea is taken as the legacy of Mansong tribute tea. 
There are 8 pair of leaf vain in every piece of  mature Mansong tea leaves, a kind of standard middle leaf tea species. Why is the Puer tea made from large leaf species not better than Mansong pu erh tea? I doubt it’s due to the mild nature of Mansong pu erh tea, that is, fairness and peace. The light yellow tea infusion is extremely beautiful. It tastes mellow without bitterness and astringency. Its aftertaste is sweet accompanying with aroma. There will be no regret leaving for you. Mansong pu erh tea really like Confucians, perfect showing the inner spirit of the doctrine of induced positive.

The top of the Prince Mountain

The tomb of the legendary prince of the Nanming regime

The local minority

An ancient pu erh tea tree

The End

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Story About Mansong Pu Erh Of Yibang Tea Mountain (1)

During Chenghua Years of Ming Dynasty, an unnamable local official selected the famous tea of “Six Big Tea Mountains” in order to get promoted. At last, he chose the  Pu Erh Tea produced at Mansong of Yibang Mountain due to its preferable favor and its magical upright spirit after being immersed into the hot water. He purchased a batch of this magical tea and divided into two portions: one was presented to the bigwig in the royal court, one was to the Xianzong Emperor by the bigwig. Xianzong Emperor spoke highly of this Mansong tea and appointed it as the tribute tea for the royal court.   

Yibang Tea Mountain became famous since then and Mansong Village became widely known as the “5,000 KG Tribute tea per year”. Qing Government built a bridleway from Kunming, Puer to Yibang and Yiwu Tea Mountain in 1845. Deep and shallow horseshoes imprinted in the bridleway can still be seen. Although the bridleway is now overgrown with weeds, it can still reflect the glory at that time. Some remarkable people and wonders have been passed down, contributing the mystery to the tribute Pu Erh Tea.

Mansong trubute tea in Ming Dynasty couldn’t meet the demand of royal court. In order to nearby manage the tea industry, Family Ye, one local Yibang people, was appointed as the official to be in charge of the production of Mansong tribute tea. Family Ye then ordered Family Li, one Mansong people, to be responsible for this job. Through years of hard work, Family Li developed the tea field to a large scale. The fined tribute tea was presented to the court. Xianzong Emperor was obsessed with tea. He was excited about this tea and wrote “The King Of Tribute Tea” for Family Li and awarded Li a horizontal board inscribed with four Chinese characters “瑞贡天朝” (Rui Gong Tian Chao). It’s rare for an emperor giving a plaque to a tea producer, while it’s rarer that eight pack mules died when they bore the plaque from the capital to Mansong. 
It’s for certain the Yibang Tea Mountain enjoyed the popularity for a time. The tea garden was defined as the royal tea garden during the late Qing Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty. When tea-leaves being picked, all the businessmen were forbidden to the mountain. And Monsong people were ordered to harvest tea-leaves. Royal tea-leaves were divided into bud tea, Theopsis and her tea. There were three tea-picking places: Wangzishan Mountain (Wangzi literally means Prince), Mansongshan Mountain and Beiyingshan Mountain, all belonging to the same mountain chain, among which the highest was Wangzishan Mountain (Prince Mountain), followed by Mansongshan Mountaian and then Beiyingshan Mountain. 

A overlook of the Prince Mountain, the highest one among Yibang Mountains

Climbing up the Prince Mountain

The Prince Mountain

The Prince Mountain

The top of the Prince Mountain

The tree covered in blossom

To Be Continued

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kun Lu Shan Mountain- The Royal Tea Garden During The Qing Dynasty

Kun Lu Shan ( Kun Lu Shan Mountain, Shan literally mean mountain in Chinese), a part of the extension of Wuliangshan Mountains, ministratively belonging to Kuanhong village, Lin'er township, Lin'er Hanni and Yizhu autonomous county, Pu'erh city, Yunnan province, lies 31 kilometers to the north of the urban area of Pu'erh county. At an elevation between 1410 and 2271 meters above sea level, the main body of Kun Lu Shan Mountain extends for more than 10 kilometers from the north to the south and several kilometers from the east to the west. Kun Lu Shan Mountain covered with thick trees has nice scenery. The ancient tea gardens are mainly located at the two villages: Fengyang village and Baxiang village. There is an area of 10122 mu (about 675 hectares) in total, among which 1939 mu (129 hectares) categorized as semi cultivated type exist in the primeval forest of Kuanhong village, Lin'er township. 

It is recorded that the Kun Lu Shan tea garden was set as royal tea garden in the  7th Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty (A.D.1729). During the spring harvesting time every year, the imperial court would send troops to guard the gates and supervise the harvesting and production all the time. It was said that the production was extremely sophisticated, requiring more than 72 production steps and taking more than 36 days to complete a batch of pu erh tea. The locals would only be allowed to make teas for their own consumption or sale when the tea made for royal families was done and shipped. All such activities were kept secret, so we are unable to know exactly how such teas were made today.

Kun Lu Shan boasting about its more than 10000 mu ancient tea garden and believed to be one of the royal tea gardens during the Qing Dynasty is now praised as"the museum of tea tree". The recorded NO 3 ancient tea tree growing here, about 25 meters in height and 2.53 meters in diameter is the biggest human cultivated tea tree ever found. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Jing Mai Shan- A Place A Pu Erh Tea Lover Shouldn't Miss

According to what we know, most of Pu Erh Tea lovers would wish to visit Yunnan province and have a look at the ancient tea trees. For most of foreign tea lovers, it seems rather difficult unless you follow a local tourist guide or join a tea tour. For most of the places in Yunnan province, it is not easy to access without the help of a local tourist guide while there is an exception. This place is called Jing Mai Shan (Jing Mai Shan Mountain or just Jing Mai, Shan literally mean mountain in Chinese). It has vast area of ancient tea gardens. If you love pu erh tea, you would not get bored even staying there for quite a few days. Going there during the tea harvesting season, you may also see tea plucking carried out by the local minority ethnics. If you are lucky, they may allow you to pluck the fresh tea leaves and learn the way of making tea.
Jing Mai Shan (Jing Mai Shan Mountain), one of the historical Six Tea Mountains, is located in Huiming Township, Lang Cang Luhu Minority Autonomous County, Yunnan Province. The history of growing tea there can date back to more than 2000 years ago. There are nine villages formed by local Bulang, Dai and Haini Minorities named Jingmai, Mangjing, Manghong and etc in Jing Mai Shan. At an elevation between 1100 and 1662 meters above sea level, the ancient tea gardens there total 16173 mu (1078 hectares), the biggest area among the historical Six Tea Mountains.
Several years ago, due to the road condition, the access to Jing Mai Shan was very tough. However, the road condition was dramatically improved during the recent years. Now, Jing Mai Shan is one of the places nearest to the airport. In Jing Mai Shan, hotel is not common yet. You may need to stay in Meng Hai County and then take a taxi to Jing Mai Shan. As far as what we know, Jing Mai Shan is one of such best place where whether tourists or professional tea businessmen can enjoy a pleasant tour.

More and larger photos of Jing Mai Shan can be found on our Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/viconyteas or our Flicker photo album: