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雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶
As compared to other places in China, every year I spend a lot more time in Yunnan. The reason is simple. In the entire world of tea, besides Yunnan, it is hard to find another place that is so rich in the natural-farmed tea. In Yunnan, we have a bountiful opportunity to explore the tea grown with eco-friendly style. When we mentioned Yunnan, many people may associate it with the pu-erh tea. However, it is the general idea. If we spend some time and carefully look for the manufacturer, there are skilled-manufacturers making the green tea, white tea, black tea and even oolong tea too.

Visiting ultimate natural farming garden

From my point of view, the natural farming refers to the tea trees as being part of surrounding ecology system. During my one-month stay in Yunnan, I have visited many natural-farmed tea gardens. But I would like to introduce one particular tea garden which has left me a very deep impression. The garden belongs to Mr. Liu, one of my important tea manufacturers. He loves natural farming. But his style is somehow a little extreme. In his tea garden, he gives no fertilizer, no pesticide and no pruning. In addition, he never even conducts any weeding at his tea garden.

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

Visiting natural farming tea garden was like an expedition

In fact, there are many styles in so-called natural farming. Some of them are fairly organized and some of them are very wild. Mr. Liu’s tea garden turned so wild style that it is hard for me to tell if I should call it natural farming or back to the wild. His tea garden was completely assimilated with the surrounding nature. I followed Mr. Liu and walked for about 1 hour to reach the foot of his tea garden. It was located at the altitude around 2000-2100m. The slope was very steep and fully covered with bush. We needed to sometimes walk like an animal, sliding down and jump over. It was like an expedition.

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

The plant with yellowish leaf in the bush is tea tree.

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

I did not feel like we were going for tea garden. The tree on the right is tea.

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

The altitude meter shows over 2000m

Naturally farmed tea leaves are shining in golden colour

When Mr. Liu pointed where his tea garden is situated, it looks nothing but just ordinary mountain. We could only notice the bushes and some taller trees and we could barely see any tea tree. It took us another half an hour walk at the slope to reach the location where some tea trees were scattered. Tea tree was grown independently without the care of human. The tea leaf was yellow colour and it was shining. Usually, when uses fertilizer, the tea tree produces very green and big leaves. The fertilizer increases the growing speed of tea. Subsequently tea has to increase the speed of photosynthesis in order to support the fast growing speed. This is how the more number of chlorophylls is composed and tealeaf turns very green in colour. The naturally farmed tea grows slowly. As a result, it is yellow like the colour of ripen banana skin. The tea leaves were shining like gold; it is simply beautiful!

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

The area in front is the natural farming tea garden.雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

Tea grown in the surrounding ecology produces yellow leaves

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶
It is easy to tell whether tea is naturally farmed or not. Usually, naturally farmed tea produces relatively smaller leaf. In addition, the vein on the leaf is slimmer and the colour of leaf is more yellowish. Besides, the distance of tea leaves on the twig is closer to each other. It shows that tea is growing slowly.

Natural farming tea

Tea grown with fertilizer

Tea grows very fast when fertilizer is used. As a result, the distance between the 1st leaf and 2nd leaf or 3rd leaf is longer.

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

We bought tea from the entire garden of Mr. Liu.

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

Mao-cha also looks a little yellowish

When I was walking around the Mr. Liu’s tea garden, I kept plucking and eating the fresh tea leaves. To my surprise, it is not bitter at all. It gives super deep aftertaste and the sweetish taste lingers down my throat for a long time. I immediately decided to purchase all teas available from this tea garden. Due to the extremely wild environment, the access to this area was easier said than done; Mr. Liu had a difficulty to allocate the tea pluckers as they normally prefer a more “tamed” environment. At last, he managed to arrange some people for plucking since we made a firm confirmation. The mao-cha after the sunshine drying appeared yellowish colour, follow the colour of the fresh tea leaf.

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶

雲南省の自然栽培プーアル茶
Since the tea is collected from the tea garden owned by Mr. Liu, it is named as Liu Jia Raw Pu-erh Tea.

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