We go deep into front-line tea region, continuously summarize and propose “Three Bangdong Wonders”, thinking that’s the best interpretation of Bangdong Pu Erh Tea: the first wonder: co-existence of ancient tea tree with deep roots and luxuriant leaves and rock; the second wonder: mountains with high altitude and steep mountains are covered by cloud and fog; the third wonder: fragrant flowers blooming in the field, the tea tastes sweet, refreshing and mellow. The three wonders make “rock charm and flower fragrance” become the regional charm of the ancient Bangdong tea.
Bangdong Pu’er tea mainly consists of ancient tea, those tea trees are over 250 years old. As time changes and people migrate, some artificially cultivated tea trees distributed halfway up the Daxue Mountain gradually integrate with the lush forest, for nobody manages, protects and let alone picks tea leaves from them any more. Among tea trees which are being picked all year round, mostly are those with tree trunk base circumference of 80~120 centimeters. The tea plants grow much better in fertile and low-lying land with abundant water, while plants in dry ridges are thin and have smaller branches compared with other ones that bear the same age, which is especially true when it comes to the ancient tree plants growing along the Lancang River.
Driving from Lincang City along the Lincang-Bangdong Highway to Bangdong village, what come into view are those lush and exuberant tea gardens where you can see 5 or 6 meters high tea trees here and there. On the two sides of the over 20-kilometer-long road passing from Laojie village, Bangdong to Mangang village bordering on Yun County, tea gardens mix with the forest, people sometimes even can’t tell whether it is the forest or a tea garden.
Located in the middle reaches of the Lancang River, Bangdong tea region is different from Banna tea region located in the lower reaches not only in its higher altitude, but also in its huge altitude difference. Bangdong tea region enjoys a highest altitude of over 3200 meters and a lowest one of 700 meters which is in Xigui village; such a huge difference forms a landscape of gorges, lofty mountains and steep hills. Tall and upright mountains and criss-cross rivers makes Bangdong a fairyland enveloped in clouds and mist; only magnificence and splendidness can be used to describe Bangdong’s sea of clouds. In addition, this region is abundant in rocks, thus many old tea trees grow in stone cracks. As Lu Yu, a tea expert back in Tang Dynasty, wrote in his master, the Book of Tea, “The upper layer of the soil is composed by broken stones”.
High mountains enveloped in clouds and mist, lofty mountains and steep hills and rock-covered region not only forms Bangdong’s unique landscape but also contributes to the natural endowment that makes Bangdong tea outstanding. Tea produced here tastes sweet and smells fragrant; moreover, it contains high content of amino acid, which gives the tea a refreshing taste. As is known to all, “strong but not refreshing” is the feature of Yunnan big-leaf tea. It’s strong because its tea polyphenol content is relatively high, therefore it tastes bitter and mellow, quenching your thirst and leaving a sweet aftertaste. While, it’s not that refreshing because compared with small-leaf green tea of high quality from other provinces, Yunnan big-leaf tea contains a lower content of amino acid.
The biggest endowment of Bangdong tea is its higher content of amino acid compared with other types of Yunnan big-leaf tea. A fresh feeling fills your mouth, relieving your thirst and leaving a sweet aftertaste, all those makes you feel as if you’re eating an olive; it gives your throat a lasting cool and refreshing feeling as if having a peppermint candy this time, which is ingenious beyond description.