Our journey through the tea farm in Pu'er continued to captivate us, unveiling the meticulous attention given to organic practices and quality control. As we explored further, we witnessed a harmonious ecological system at work. Among the tea fields, we noticed chickens jumping amongst the tea bushes, serving as natural pest controllers. The presence of chickens not only adds a touch of charm but also exemplifies the farm's commitment to ecological balance.
Sticky pads and even manual pest removal methods were employed to ensure no harmful chemicals touched the precious tea leaves. One of the most amusing anecdotes we came across during our tea farm visit involved a peculiar year when tea bugs were particularly abundant in the fields. As the bugs feasted on the tea leaves, it created a situation reminiscent of the renowned Oriental Beauty tea from Taiwan. Oriental Beauty is known for its distinctive honey-like aroma, which is the result of leaf damage caused by tea bugs. Surprisingly, this unexpected turn of events led to the creation of a batch of tea at the Pu'er farm that exhibited a similar enchanting aroma. It was a true testament to the farm's commitment to organic practices. While the tea bugs might have posed a challenge for the farmers, they embraced the situation with humor and saw it as an opportunity to create a unique tea experience. This anecdote highlights the farm's dedication to working in harmony with nature and their willingness to adapt to unforeseen circumstances.
Our exploration led us to a separate area where adorable tea plants were planted in individual jars. This served as the farm's research and development section, dedicated to selecting the best conditions and cultivars. It was fascinating to witness the farm's dedication to innovation and continuous improvement.
Beyond the organic practices, we delved into the fair working conditions that prevailed at the tea farm. We sought insight from our tea friend, Miss Yuan, who shared that most farmers were invited from remote poverty stricken rural areas. Here, they were given an opportunity to cultivate their own piece of tea land, becoming true entrepreneurs in their fields. The farm's owner provided each farmer with a tea house next to their designated fields, empowering them to make decisions about their tea cultivation and harvest work, albeit under strict harvesting conditions. This initiative showcased the farm's commitment to uplifting the community and fostering a better society.
The pinnacle of our visit was the tasting experience, where we had the privilege of sampling 15 batches of newly harvested teas under the guidance of the chief quality officer, the true tea master of the farm. With scientific precision, we followed their tasting method, using standard tasting cups to evaluate the dry leaves, aroma, taste, and brewed leaves.
Through this process, we discovered the subtle differences in cultivars and learned about the intricate art of blending multiple cultivars to create the perfect flavor profiles. We marveled at the noticeable variations in taste even between teas harvested just a day or two apart. The farm's commitment to quality was evident as they diligently noted imperfections and downgraded or discarded batches that did not meet their high standards.
Our journey through the tea farm in Pu'er revealed a deep-rooted dedication to organic practices, fair working conditions, and uncompromising quality control. It was a true testament to the passion and expertise that goes into crafting each cup of tea. Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we will delve into smaller individual tea farmers of ethnic Dai people in the deep mountains of Yunnan.