Post-fermented (Pu Erh tea style), charcoal fire-roasted wild tea from the large-leaved camellia sinensis assamica tea species that is local to the border area North Thailand/Burma and has been growing wild there in form of trees for many centuries, most probably milleniums. The tea looks back on a long tradition of use amongst the native hill tribes, Shan and North Thais.
Our ShanTea is picked by a Shan farmer from more than 300 years old wild tea trees on both sides of the Thai-Burmese border. Already our tea collector’s father used to make a living from the picking and processing of wild tea in the old homeland (Burmese Shan states). From him, as his companion when touring the forest for fresh tea leaves, our Shan farmer had learnt the art as a child, and when the family – in the backdrop of troubled political and social circumstances – migrated to Thailand, they settled where they found a large number of more than 300 years old tea trees scattered and nestled nearly invisibly in the surrounding forest and nature. The family believes that these tea trees must have been tended at some point in time before, but they don’t know by who. Only 2-3km from their settlement, pretty much on border line level, they have discovered the leftovers of a village they say must have been abandoned by its inhabitants during the 1940s. They suggest that it could have been those villagers, whoever these might have been, who had tended – regularly cut and picked – those tea trees once or might have even planted them in the first place more than 300 years ago.
Already the gentle picking style, protecting and nurturing the tea tree in order to ensure consistant quality pickings also in the future, while yielding its best buds and leaves only at the same time, is an essential part of this tea’s art and secret. Other important elements of the processing of ShanTea to an “unripened” or “raw” (sheng) Pu Erh Tea are the sun drying of the tea leaves, a 10-15 minutes charcoal fire roasting step as a kind of “finishing touch”, and the storage of the ready processed tea leaves in dark, well ventilated and comparably cool storage rooms.
ShanTea Wild Tea sticks out through its individual taste with a dominating grassy and earthy note, coined by the Pu Errh style processing method and the charcoal fire roasting, orange-brown cup. According to its wild growth character, ShanTea is 100% organically grown, 100% nature!
For more information about the tea variety native to north Thailand and its processing variations, please also see our pertinent Siam Tea Blog article Bai Yai – North Thailand’s Old Tea Tree.
You will find more detailed information and many illustrations on the cultivation and processing of ShanTea Wild Pu Erh Tea in our blog articles at www.siamteas.com: “Pang Kham: Tea Village in No-Man’s-Land”; “Project ShanTea”, and: “Tea cultivation in Thailand”.
ShanTea Wild Tea Pu Er style tea should be infused at a water temperature between 90°C and 100°C for max. 1 minute. With the following steeps timed accordingly, the characteristic aroma will last undiminished for at least 7 infusions.
ShanTea Wild Tea, of course, is also perfectly suited for preparation in form of the Chinese Tea Ceremony, Gong Fu Cha.