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2023 Jingmai


Last year's reception of this tea's debut is cause for at least a second round.

A pu'er with low astringency and bitterness, medium to high fragrance, buoyant mouthfeel/body with medium sweetness offers a nose of sweet ham and herb stuffed patisserie.  A medium salivary effect — 生津 shēngjīn —  is produced immediately in the session, as each nip at the cup could be likened to satisfaction derived from ripping bits off of doughy table bread to add to a well-deserved dinner.  Mineral sweetness emerges two or three steeps in alongside a classy light throat musk.  Alterative body effects move warmth around the upper torso and cleanse away any stuckness in the body as the concert progresses.  A nourishing, medium intensity tea with no heavy handedness in any category, from start to finish.

One of Dá É's close friends, 布朗 Bùlǎng ethnicity woman Yù Bǐng lives in 芒景 Mángjǐng village and is the steward to these trees, as well as a producer of the teas derived from these gardens.  Whereas the rest of the Jingmai comprises of Dai ethnic people, Mangjing is one of the handful of bastions of Bulang folk in all of southern Yunnan, aboriginals with arguably the longest history as tea people living their lives inextricable from the Camellia; true natives to the southern mountain jungles of Yunnan.  Garden deeds dating back an astounding 1800 years can be traced back to Bulang folk in Mangjing, and their cosmology and lore detail an intricate and inseparable history with the tea trees.

This tea comes from Yù Bǐng's old arbors near the famous 蜂王树 fēngwáng shù or Queen Bee Tree in the 哎冷 Āi lěng shān growing area at about 1500 meters in elevation above the village.  Delve deeper into this mythic tea epicenter, its ecology and its people, by exploring some of the layers of mystery tucked into these leaves.

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An extensive Bulang ethnobotany, the study of their ancient relations with the plants, and in extension the natural world around them, would be a fascinating dive.  Below are images of their Queen Bee Tree, an ancient 50 meter high Banyan tree hosting around 70 beehives.  Annual rituals are held in observance and worship to this sacred tree, and its natural processes are witnessed to serve as a harbinger for correlating seasonal events; a dynamic timekeeper and indicator for the Bulang people and their interactions with the natural world.

Observations of timeless symbiosis such as when a specific number of bees have returned to their spring hives only then will the tea spirit return and the ancient tea trees begin to sprout their vernal growth.


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The celebrated Bulang ancestor 哎冷 Āi lěng:




“If I left you cattle and horses, I’m worried because they would die;

Or leave you gold and silver, I’d be worried that you would spend it;

So I’ll only leave you tea trees because they will last us forever.”


original Queen Bee Tree artwork by Arulu Gallagher

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