ShanTea – Wild Tea (Raw Pu Erh 2010) from North Thailand
Our “ShanTea” is a postfermenting tea 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 with the ancient tea tree in Yunnan, and probably just about as old. 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.
Pang Kham – Tea Village in No-Man’s-Land
Our ShanTea is picked by an ethnic Shan farmer from more than 300 years old tea trees this and that side of the Thai-Burmese border. Already 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 there in an area, where wild tea trees grew 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 kilometres 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 tended and propagated the already existing tea trees.
Picking and Processing
Already the careful picking of tea leaves is part of ShanTea’s secret. One part of this is that only the most qualifying buds and leaves are picked. This way, the tea tree takes not damage and the quality of later pickings remains uncompromised. 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 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 decisive for an optimal ripening process. Both in Pang Kham and at our warehouse, this takes place in dark, well-aired and relatively cool spaces.
Taste and Appearance
Extremely individual taste of the orange-brown cup, coined by sun-drying and charcoal roasting. During the years of ripening, the initially dominant grassy note has meanwhile given way to rather earthy and sweet dry fruit flavors. 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 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 max. 1 minute for a first proper steep. For each follow-up infusion, extend your infusion period by 15-30 seconds. This way, ShanTea will produce up to 7 or even more worthy infusion. And each of these will reward you with a flavor profile of its very own!
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: