Wa Shan Ecological Tea Garden
The Wa Shan Ecological Tea Garden is situated on the southwestern Yunnan province, bordering Myanmar (Burma). Wa Shan is the name of a mountain, home to the Wa ethnic people, who live in Yunnan and Burma with a very small population of just over 1 million people. The Wa Shan Ecological Tea Garden is an organic certified tea farm specializing in making Dianhong ("Yunnan Red") black teas, as well as special micro-lots of delicate spring flush white and green teas, wulong teas using traditional wulong cultivars, and pu'er teas made from the ancient genetic seed stock of broad leaf variety tea trees.
The Wa People:
The Wa people (佤族) are a small ethnic group with an estimated population of just over 1 million people. The Wa people live primarily in China's Yunnan province and in Burma's Kachin and Shan states, with a small population making home in Thailand's Chiang Rai province. The Wa have their own spoken language that belongs to the Austroasiatic family. The Wa oral language has no written counterpart. Over the centuries the Wa people adopted other written scripts such as Chinese and Shan to communicate in written form. Cave artwork found in some regions of Yunnan traditionally inhabited by the Wa suggest that the Wa may have used a pictographic written language in the far ancient past. The traditional Wa belief system is animist, and placed particular emphasis on ritual sacrifice of cattle. The Wa are known as a warm, inviting, and festive culture which is celebrated through folk traditions that are still practiced today, such as singing and dancing paired the famously strong local whiskey. A traditional Wa dish is said to symbolize their hospitality and communal spirit: marinated free-range chicken shredded with fresh vegetables and mountain herbs cooked simply into a savoury rice porridge. The Wa say that cooking a chicken on its own without the rice and vegetables can only feed three or four mouths. But a chicken prepared in the traditional way can allow even dozens of guests to share the same dish.
Tea Tree Cultivars:
Mengku Broad Leaf Variety
Fengqing Broad Leaf Variety
Xiang Gui Yun Hao
…numerous other aromatic cultivars
The Wa Shan Ecological Tea Garden is situated in the midst of a remote subtropical, mountainous microclimate in southwestern Yunnan. The Tropic of Cancer passes just north of Wa Shan; even at the highest elevations, there are just 25 days of frost per year on average. The rolling hills here are thickly covered with lush tropical rainforest, providing shelter for the tea gardens from the severe drought conditions that have afflicted the northern and central areas of Yunnan in recent years. The forestry here teems with a rich biodiversity comprising myriad species of wild flora and fauna. On average, there are 150 days of dense fog per year at Wa Shan, making for the perfect environment for growing tea. The tea trees, enshrouded in clouds and mists throughout the growing season, mature very slowly and develop rich flavours abundant in plant nutrients like L-theanine amino acids, which are concentrated due to the muted sunlight. In addition, the contrast between warm days and cool nights benefits the tea plant's respiratory functions, intensifying the flavour and rich mouthfeel of the tea.
Passiflora (passionfruit) trees, Qimushu alder trees (whose roots contain the nitrogen-fixing bacteria Frankia alni), mountain ginger, Bajiao banana, Moyu Devil's taro, various Cyathea tropical tree ferns, Huangpao golden raspberry, Moshuiguo flowering shrub.
Gaofeng Niu "Tall-Peak Cattle", wild deer, wild boar, mountain goats, honeybees, and (historically) Indian elephants.
Fair Trade/Fair For Life: