Chinese Name: 勐海新班章茶区
English Name: Xinbanzhang Tea Plantation in Menghai County, XishaungBanna
Keywords: Xinbanzhang Tea Plantation in Menghai County, tea culture tour, XishaungBanna attractions, things to do in XishaungBanna Menghai
Location: Banzhang Village of Bulangshan Town in Menghai County, XishaungBanna
Admission Fee: Free
Opening Hours: All the day
Bulangshan is fully and officially named Bulangshan Bulang Autonomous Township because most of the residents here belong to the Bulang ethnic minority. It is called home by over 10,000 Bulang ethnic members and 3,000 Hani ethnic members-among whom the Bulangs account for about 30% of the total Bulang ethnic population of Xishuangbanna Prefecture.
A Long History of Tea Plantation
Probably, no one will think of Bulangshan when drinking the “weird” caffeine-free Pu’er tea. But Bulangshan is indeed one of the major producers of Pu’er tea in Yunnan Province. Bulang people have toiled in this area from generation to generation, and they have been known as the oldest tea farmers as well as drinkers in the world.
The history of tea plantation of Bulang people can date back 1,000 years. Even today, many ancient tea trees are still thriving in the villages of Laoman’e, Laobanzhang, and Xinbanzhang etc-among them Laoman’e is nearly 1,400 years old. They are busy strengthening efforts to protect ancient tea trees and cultivating what is called ecological tea plantations. Since 1982 when the tea output quotas were contracted to households, tea industry has been taking up a large percentage of the local economy, and many new plantations have mushroomed.
During 1988-1990, in order to launch the “Tea Development Programme” in Banzhang Village, Menghai Tea Factory began adopting the way of cuttage and cultivated a plantation of about 200 Mu (13 hectares). Up to now, Bulangshan Township has relied largely on the tea plantation which benefits local farmers a lot. The tea acreage has amounted to at least 28,000 Mu (1,867 hectares), with the annual output of about 450 tonnes, worth over 10 million yuan ($1.57 mn).
Characteristics of Xinbanzhang Pu’er Tea(新班章普洱茶)
First flush of spring materia from more than 100 years old arbor tea trees growing in Xin Ban Zhang village. Xin Ban Zhang is a neighbor village to Lao Ban Zhang and the tea from there shares much same character with Lao Ban Zhang Pu’er but not so bitter and pungent so it can be accepted and liked by more people even you try Green (raw) Pu’er for the first time. The leaf structure, mouth-feel and aroma is much the same. An intense cha qi accompanies the drinking experience. This intensity is the perfect fuel to transform this tea through the years.
There is a widespread misunderstanding that raw Pu’er can only be drunk after at least 5-10 years aging. In fact, raw Pu’er of good quality especially the ones made of tealeaves harvested from old or ancient arbor tea trees such as the Xin Ban Zhang Loose raw Pu’er is delicious even being enjoyed in current year. Of course, amazing changes can be found every several years if properly stored. Pu’er tea would change with time in taste, flavor and appearance so you may feel different when you try it.
Differences between Xinbanzhang(新班章) and Laobanzhang (老班章)
In China tea market, Lao Ban Zhang (老班章) is famously referred as the King of Raw Pu’er tea. Its flavor is uniquely strong with bold, complex taste. In Kunming, tea connoisseurs often describe the taste of Lao Ban Zhang as “霸” (superiorly dominant). This is why they crowned Lao Ban Zhang as “The King”. Lao Ban Zhang is named after the village that produces this tea. Lao Ban Zhang Village is located in Bu Lang Mountain (布朗山) at Meng Hai (勐海) county, Xishuang Banna (西双版纳, South West Yunnan). The earliest record on the village’s tea production can be traced back to 1476. Lao Ban Zhang Village is resided by minorities known as The Bu Lang tribe. For generations, the Bu Lang people planted tea trees and produced tea in the mountains. Today, there are 117 Bu Lang families residing in Lao Ban Zhang Village. Due to historical fame, good quality, limited production and monopoly, the price of Lao Ban Zhang Pu’er has gone sky high and it is almost impossible to obtain authentic Lao Ban Zhang at reasonable prices so we have no way but to find a substitute. Xin Ban Zhang is a neighbor village to Lao Ban Zhang and the Pu’er tea produced from here shares much similarity in character with Lao Ban Zhang tea. The Hui Gan(aftertaste) is persistent like Lao Ban Zhang. The leaf structure, mouth-feel and aroma is much the same. An intense cha qi accompanies the drinking experience. This intensity is the perfect fuel to transform this tea through years. In fact, a part of Lao Ban Zhang sold on the market is produced from Xin Ban Zhang. It is even a “decent” cheating way and regrettably quite a large part of so-called Lao Ban Zhang sold on the markets is produced from common places in Bu Lang Shan or just those of Meng Hai.
Jinghong City – 90km – Menghai county seat – 40km – Bulang Township
Attraction Travel Tips:
· Best season to travel: March – May