Deep in the forests of Mengding Mountain, there was a small temple inhabited by a few monks. For a thousand years, they were producing a mysterious drink from the tea bushes scattered over the remote hills. It cleared away the toxins, dispelled the swelling, calmed the stomach, and warmed the body from the inside. Tibetan shepherds from near and far came to the humble temple's doors to cure their ailments and replenish their health.
This Ya'an Zang Cha Tibetan tea is another worthy member of our Hei Cha (dark tea) collection. This tea is a landmark product of Sichuan's Mengding Mountain (蒙頂山). It has inherited a centuries-old tradition in one of China's cradles for tea culture. Indeed, some credit today's Sichuan as the first region for which written evidence exists on tea growing and consumption.
The Ya'an Zang Cha Tibetan tea is made from the local small-leafed tea bush variety. The region falls in the "golden belt" – a line that stretches around the 30" Northern latitude parallel. This area's unique combination of microclimate, soil, and precipitation forms a fine terroir, and the world's most premium tea comes from that area.
The tea bushes in Ya'an grow scattered at 800-1200m above sea level. Farmers start to pick the tea in early spring. Our Tibetan tea uses a bud and two leaves that strike a balance between a finer, delicate taste and a rich, mellow mouthfeel. The deep fermentation produces a clear, bright red tea soup. It's thick and mellow, with a dried fruits aroma. A faint "medicinal aroma" will emerge when Tibetan tea is aged. It reminds of the smell of herbs in a traditional Chinese apothecary and is a prized feature that signifies good storage.
The raw tea leaves undergo processing that includes fixing, rolling, wet piling, drying, and pressing. Its mild taste and mellow character make it an excellent choice for a sensitive stomach. As a Dark tea, Ya'an Zang Cha Tibetan tea gently regulates and assists digestion without irritating the stomach. It is a daily drink for Tibetans from the high mountains to wash away the grease from their diets high in meat. Additionally, it offers vitamins and elements deficient in their food. The flavor is sweet, and the mouthfeel is rounded thanks to the highly oxidized polyphenols. Drinking this Hei Cha leaves only a strong sweet aftertaste; not a whiff of bitterness or astringency.
Meng Ding mountain has a long history of growing tea that dates back to the Tang era (618 - 906 A.D). Tibetan tea (藏茶) has been produced here for up to 1300 years, with Ya'An serving as a major trading hub on the Tea-Horse Road. Early in 2008, the People's Republic of China's Ministry of Culture declared the production of black tea (Hei Cha – 黑茶), specifically Ya'an Tibetan tea, to be a grade 1 intangible cultural heritage.
• Place of Origin: Houyan Village, Yucheng District, Ya'an city, Sichuan province
• Altitude: 800 – 1200m
• Harvest Date: Sept 2021
• Picking Standard: a bud and two leaves
• Aroma: dried fruits, apricot jam, light earthy notes
• Taste: dates and plums with a pleasant sweet & sour finish
• Cultivar: small-leaf (Xiao Ye Zhong)
212℉ / 100℃
1g per 50ml 3-5min
1g per 20ml 10sec + 5sec for each subsequent infusion