2019 Loose Mangbai Shu Puer
A silky smooth Shu Puer with a mild lingering sweetness through later infusions
What gives Mangbai puer its specific profile? The team explains 'It is about the whole environment which gives the puerh its characteristics. For example, high altitude, 1500-1820m, average annual temp.,17.5’C, annual sunny day, 2100hours, around 147 annual foggy days, and the biodiversity in the tea garden on the mountains.'
In more depth...
Tea Name : 2019 Mangbai Shu Puer
Origin : Mangbai tea garden, near to the China/Myanmar border
Size : 1000 hectares
Harvest Time : Spring season, 2018, conventional bushes
Cultivar : Yunnan broad leaf
Plucking standard : One leaf one bud
Processing : Fixing Rolling Piling Drying Pressing
Experience : A silky sweet Shu Puer with a mild lingering sweetness through later infusions
First visited by Comins : April 2016, Michelle Comins
How to prepare tea [Gaiwan]...
Amount of tea per pot (200 ml): 2.5 g (2 tsp)
Water temperature: 100℃
Infusion / brewing time: 10-30 seconds 1st infusion then 15 s
Number of infusions: 4+
How to enjoy: No sugar, no milk.
In more depth...
The Mangbai tea garden is a 1000 hectare garden near to the China/Myanmar border. EU, JAS & NOP certified organic. 397 families live in this community with 1554 people working in the garden and 40 in the factory. producing black, green, oolong, white and puer tea. The company is owned by Helen Huan, who Michelle met [pictured below on her last visit] and her sister who purchased the land on which Mangbai sits and then separated it out so that it could be contracted to the local farmers - Mangbai provides means of production and also provide housing subsidies to the farmers.. The work at Mangbai is driven by the vision 'that people should enjoy safer and better teas' an approach that came about when, in the year 2000 the EU started to implement a pesticide policy, which was and still is much stricter than the Chinese one. The feeling at Mangbai is that Organic farming helps the wild life, environment and the local community, but also the health and living standard of the people. Pay & Incentives : The farmers who take on contracts are committed to organic farming and the company buys fresh organic leaves from them at a price that is higher than those in the market : around 15-30% more for non-single bud leaf & 30-50% more for the single bud.
There are several different cultivars on the garden and these produce teas with different characteristics :
- Yunnan Broad Leaf : pure sweet mellow tone, floral notes & a brisk fresh finish
- This tea is made from Tai Chai No.12 : sweet and mellow with a brisk & fresh finish with lingering floral and fruity note
- Xianggui cultivar : musky, honey like with a long lasting flavour
- Purple bud : sweet & mellow with a brisk, fresh, grassy finish
Tales of the Tea Trade : Mangbai Tea Co-operative
Michelle : In 2016 I took a very long journey to the area of Yunnan that borders Myanmar. Back then the roads were only just being built and I remember the route to get there, along steep sandy tracks, being one of the most terrifying driving experiences of all my travels. I am assured that this is no longer the case and the route to reach this area is now much smoother - you can fly from Kunming to Cangyuan directly now [but where's the fun in that!] Cangyuan is mainly inhabited by the Wa community - an ethnic group who live mainly along the China-Myanmar border. The Wa culture is deeply connected to tea culture with tea playing an important role both in terms of providing income and livelihoods but also in many rituals around birth, death and special occasions such as long journeys. ‘Much of the work at our organic cooperative has been about improving the life and environment of Tea Producers and the local community. If you ask us to share our mission we will share how this is centered around preserving the local culture & protecting the environment while producing great tasting tea and striving for a better life of the local people. The Unique geographical conditions + natural farming methods + kind tea farmers who insist on organic beliefs = a cup of pure, untainted, and great-tasting tea'
Nowadays there is a strong focus on the environment : over 160,000 trees can be found within the garden. Local biological corridors have also been created allowing connection of ecosystems and habitats that have been fragmented by natural causes and human development but is hasn't always been this way as the team share...
’At the beginning there was little provision for health, no hospitals - now there is a hospital built up on the mountain for the tea farmers who are trained in health and hygiene knowledge. There was little care for the environment - now our garden is rainforest alliance certified - we have provided a lot of education around polluted water and garbage treatment and tired to move away from the traditional WA practice of burning up the trees for farming. Training has been provided on organic farming methods so that we can protect the environment with consumer power - what does this mean? Well this is all about sustainable development and to power that we need the consumption power from tea consumers to help on it. What are our plans for the future?- Society, economy & eco-sustainable development alongside cultural preservation - we need long term partnerships so to pay back our investment in the garden - this will allow us to grow with our tea farmers’