ShanTea – Wild Thai Sheng “Pu Erh” Tea 2019
“ShanTea” is a postfermenting tea (“hei cha”) from wild-growing tea trees in the border region between north Thailand and Myanmar. There, Assamica-type tea trees have been native since ancient times. They are closely related to the ancient tea tree in Yunnan, and probably just about as old. Accordingly, the sheng hei cha produced from their leaves quite equals a sheng pu erh tea. In north Thailand, “bai yai” teas (Thai for “large leaf”) look back on a long tradition among the local mountain tribes, ethnic Shan and north Thais.
Our ShanTea Wild Thai Sheng Hei Cha is picked by an ethnic Shan farmer from 70+ years old tea trees in the Thai-Myanmar border region. Most noteably, all trees have been growing from the seed in their natural, highly biodiverse environment. What’s on offer here is the 2019 vintage of this tea. If wild sheng teas are a fancy of yours, or just curious, watch out for its naturally ripened 2010 vintage here, too.
ShanTee – wild Sheng Hei Cha,north Thailand
Pang Kham – Tea Village in No-Man’s-Land
Our tea farmer’s father once used to make a living from wild tea trees in their original home in the Burmese Shan states. It was from him that our tea farmer learnt the trade, when still a child. When the political situation in their old home forced the family to escape to Thailand, they settled in a place with wild tea trees growing in abundance.
The inhabitants of the border village Pang Kham believe that these tea trees must have been tended already once before their time. By whom, however, is a question they are unable to fully answer. Only about 2 kilometers from their village, the new settlers once discovered the remains of another village. According to oral lore, Chinese Kuomintang soldiers allegedly settled there for a short while during the 1940’s. The people in Pang Kham have concluded that it must have been those Chinese migrants, who once planted and tended the tea trees.
Picking and Processing
Already the careful picking of tea leaves is part of our ShanTea’s secret. One part of this is that only the most qualifying buds and leaves are picked. This way, the tea tree takes no damage and the quality of later pickings remains uncompromised.
The processing of a sheng hei cha – or sheng pu erh – widely resembles the processing of green tea. Accordingly, after a period of withering follows the stopping of enzymatic oxidation processes in the tea leaf through heat. Another important element of ShanTea’s processing to to an “unripened” or “raw” (“sheng”) Pu Erh tea is the sun-drying of the tea leaves. These then obtain their finishing touch in the form of a 10-15 minutes roasting over charcoal fire.
After that, the correct storage of the leaf material is crucial for an optimal ripening process. Both in Pang Kham and at our warehouse, this takes place in dark, well-aired and relatively cool spaces.
You will find even more detailed information and many illustrations on the cultivation and processing of ShanTea Wild Pu Erh Tea in our dedicated blog article:
Taste and Appearance
Fresh grass and hay notes dominte the extremely individual taste of the orange-brown cup. Then, sun-drying and charcoal roasting are further factors coining this tea’s flavor. And because of its wild character, ShanTea is 100% pure nature!
For more information about the tea variety native to north Thailand and its processing variations, please also see our pertinent blog article,
Infuse ShanTea Wild Thai Sheng Hei Cha with water of a temperature between 90°C and 100°C. Acccording to proper Pu Erh tea preparation standard, dispose of a first infusion of only a few seconds. Then, apply an infusion period of 1 minute for a first proper steep. With shorter infusion periods for follow-up steeps, ShanTea will produce up to 7 or even more worthy infusions. And each of these will reward you with a flavor profile of its very own!