The area surrounding Bangwei Mountain does not belong to the highly decorated region of Xishuangbanna in the south, but rather the northern region of Pu-Erh. This region is also home to the city of Pu'er, which is named after the tea and was once the trading center for tea in Yunnan as well as an important part of the historical Tea Horse Road. Mount Bangwei is not far from the city.
The Bangwei Mountain and its populace, largely members of the Lahu cultural minority, have a history with tea dating back more than a thousand years. Within the village walls there is even a tea tree estimated to be 1,000 years old attesting to this tradition.
The tea was quickly fermented under carefully monitored conditions over a period of 45-60 days and then pressed into form. This tea was produced in 2017/2018 and stored in Guang Zhou, China. Since 2018 the tea has continued to be ripened under special conditions at Sunday Natural in Berlin.
Centuries-Old Pu-Erh Trees
The tea plants needed for producing Pu-Erh are autochthonous, large-leafed, and wild-grown tea plants. In contrast to generic tea plants grown around the world, this type does not grow as a bush, but rather as a tree that can live for up to thousands of years. Scientific study of the Camellia taliensis suggests that this tree is the common ancestor of all other types of tea. This cultivar is native to the region where China, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar meet. This is also where the Chinese province of Yunnan is located, and the history of Yunnan is also intertwined with the first known attempts to cultivate tea. For this reason, Yunnan is often considered the "cradle of all teas". In the tea forest of Yunnan, each tree has an individual character with a different shape and different cultures of moss and fungi. As such, each tree produces its "own" tea. The older the tree, the deeper its roots extend into the earth and into deep layers of rock and stone. These older trees can absorb minerals and trace elements that are passed on to the leaves and buds. The tea made from the buds and leaves of wild-grown older trees is thus rich in minerals and highly desirable.