Here is the picture I want to share with you:
On this picture, you can clearly see the difference of landscapes between conventional plantations (on the left side), ancient tea gardens (at the top) and secondary rain forest (at the bottom). The village you can see is Jingmai Da Zhai (''Jingmai big village''). The road goes on the left side to Mangjing: the Bulang area of Jingmai.
The white little dots in the plantation fields are actually small huts where the tea pickers can have a rest and gather the leaves.
These photos were shot in 2010, at this time, the tea trees density was high but since then, the field has been converted into natural tea gardens, with a density such as you can see in the foreground of the second picture, I will cover this subject in a future article.
|Along the main road|
|Inside the ancient tea forest|
The ancient tea trees are rarely located in a dense forest, the trees need light and room to grow and it must be easy to move around and harvest the trees. Ancient tea gardens are also managed to a certain extent, they form a different landscape from primary forest.
I have seen very few tea trees growing in a totally untouched environment, i can remember of a few places near the village of Mengsong, in Bulang Shan, and remote parts of Yiwu mountain.
When I started my tea journey, I thought the better the environment, the better the quality; now, I have found out reality is much more complex. Managing tea gardens can be very tricky.
This is all about learning, first, you have strong beliefs, and with better knowledge and experience, they are teared to pieces while new convictions seize your brain. I love that process.