Plantation, natural and ancient tea gardens
Written by William le 06 january 2012
There are three main qualities of Pu-erh tea:
-Plantation tea, called Taidi Cha (台地茶), is the basic quality, the most commonly produced tea. The tea trees are arranged in narrow ranks to maximize the output per hectare. They are shaped to keep a ''picking table'' on the top of the tree, that makes the bushes easier to harvest.
In order to promote growth, fertilizers can be applied on the fields. Pesticides are used only if necessary, it mostly depends on the environment's ability to protect the trees from pests and insects. If the plantation is small and surrounded by forest, the insects won't disturb the tea trees. Plantations in Yunnan range from small family field to huge factory managed plantations, both systems have pros and cons. Certified organic plantations also exist, development of pesticide-free tea is pushed by the consumers' demand.
-Natural tea garden (Shengtai Chayuan 生态茶园) are less intensively exploited than conventional plantations. A minimum space between each trees must be respected. Other species of trees and bushes must be planted to ensure a good biodiversity and stabilize the soil. No fertilizers or pesticides should be used (this is why having biodiversity is important). Natural tea trees are usually not shaped, they can develop freely and grow tall. Nowadays, many plantations are converted into natural tea gardens. Old natural tea gardens eventually become ancient tea gardens. We offer natural tea garden leaves on Bannacha
-Ancient tea gardens (Guchayuan 古茶园) are hundred years old fields. The tea history of Yunnan has started a long time ago, hence, some of the trees found in such garden can be a thousand years old. Since the tea trees reproduce naturally, a large range of ages can be found, from 0 to 1000 years old, with the majority being 100 to 300 years old. Camellia Sinensis is a very tough specie that can grow under harsh conditions and stand through the ages very well. Most of the teas we offer on Bannacha
come from ancient tea gardens.
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