In the year of 2013, Legend of Tea has sent out a team of tea experts to embark on a sacred journey towards the homeland of Puer Tea, Xi Shuang Ban Na, in Yunnan, searching for one of the rarest tea category that is ever existed in the market; the hundred & thousand years old tea tree which is named the <Chang Gu Hao> series. The <Chang Gu Hao> series has gain a lot of recognition and praise from the Tea drinking community, with such good response.
This year our team will embark on a journey to Xi Shuang Ban Na again to produce this series of premium Puer tea. In 2014 with the launching of our very first ever tea production factory in Guang Gang, Yunnan, Legend of Tea has decided to rebrand the <Chang Gu Hao> series in to <Gu Yun Hao>.
Why do we establish our tea production factory in China ?
• To ensure highest product and quality control for the production of the "Gu Yun Hao" ancient tea series.
• To provide the most affordable price to the tea market.
• To educate, empower and enhance local tea makers tea professionalism in producing tea.
• To achieve a win win situation in the tea industry and country economy.
Tea Production VS Tea Sourcing
Most of the tea companies in industry only gather and buy tea leaves from others tea production centre. They do not have actual experiences in the entire process of tea making, which is starting from harvesting fresh tea leaf to the process of producing the final tea product.
What are the essentials define good tea making? Actually, there are many materials and utensils involved in the whole process of tea making. For example, in the process called “fixation / kill green” (in Chinese “Sha Qing”), it require to use a caldron, a well experienced tea making master, equipment made of bamboo, firewood and other related equipment.
During harvesting season, it is important to have a large and spacious area in the tea production facility to handle large amount of tea leaves. This is because drying the tea leaves under the sun requires a very large area. If we do not have our own tea production facility, it is possible to complete the entire tea making process. The uphill road journey to the tea plantation is very tough and dangerous. Therefore, the conveyance of raw materials is inconvenient and costly. In addition of expensive manpower wages,
it is inevitable that a substantial amount of money is required to build a tea production centre in such location. For most of the tea companies, for the reason of cost saving, usually they do not want to build it and is better and easy to buy raw tea leaves (in Chinese “Mao Cha”) from tea farmers. With the raw tea leaves, they just need to carry out the final stage of compression to the finished product which will carry their own brand logo. This end product selling in the market is commonly known as “Bai Jia Cha”.
The conditions of producing raw tea leaves of every tea farmer are different in standard and skills level of production, therefore, there is no good way to compare and judge any of them. Let’s put aside the consideration of the cleanliness of the production environment, but we only look at the production processes. Is the “fixation / kill green” process thorough and homogeneous? Is the “rolling” process complete and right to its place? In “drying” stage, is every tea leaf completely exposed to sunlight?
What is the storage condition and environment for the finished raw tea leaves? Actually, the place where the tea farmers used to make tea is not ideally spacious. When the weather is good, it is back outside to dry on the bamboo batten. However, during raining season, they usually save time and effort of drying it, by placing the tea leaves on the shelf layer by layer under a plastic shed.
Such method of drying the tea leaves with plastic shed without basking under the sun will affect and increase the bitterness and green astringency of tea, reduced tea fragrance and the color of tea broth will be cloudy. As such of a reduced quality of the tea leaves, the future potential for a better aging is not promising.
The quality of raw tea leaves is critically depending on a good drying method and process. If it is in a spacious open area with bamboo batten stretch out in length, elevated above the ground, where each tea leaf given enough and thorough basking of sunlight, the tea leaves are able to give the purest fragrance and taste. To achieve such high and demanding qualities, a wholly control and own tea production centre is necessary. This is one of the main reason why we invest and build our own tea production center at the plantation hillside.
What if is raining? The tea making season falls on March till May of every year. Fortunately, the weather of Ban Na Ancient Tree Mountain is the best during these 3 months, because of less rain and the period of daylight are much longer. It is a blessed and best season to carry out the drying process.
Another most important reason of building tea production center at the plantation hillside is to control and ensure the highest quality of ancient tree tea. We are able to carry out tea making process immediately after harvesting fresh tea leaves from the hillside. As we know, most of the ancient tea trees grow in the deep mountains, the pathway up to the mountain is narrow and rugged. After plucking the fresh tea leaves from the tea tree, it requires to walk a few miles to transport all the fresh tea leaves to the tea farmers to immediately carry out the production processes. This is important because if the leaves have been kept for some time without processing, it would severely affect the quality of the finished raw tea leaves.
To choose a quality ancient tree tea, we should first consider choosing those tea companies who is putting in dedicated effort and taking every single tea making process seriously to achieve the highest quality. What are the other considerations? It is better to choose those companies who have experiences and transparent in the whole process of tea making and reveal its whole journey and locations of harvesting the tea leaves from the tea plantation up high on the mountains. Were if not for the boldness, courage, responsible, strength, who dare to undertake this work?