Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jingmai from space

Google Earth is a great tool, I often find myself travelling through it. I love to see how the places I've been to look like from space. Jingmai mountain was very well shot, with a clear sky and good light.

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.


  1. Ici Amélie! Les photos sur ton blog font toujours autant rêver ^^
    Et le contenu des articles est toujours intéressant. Je suis vraiment contente que ton voyage t'enrichisse à ce point.

  2. Bonjour William,

    Je me joins aux commentaires précédents pour te remercier du contenu de ton article.

    Et je profite de cet espace d'échange pour te dire à quel point j'ai apprécié l'échantillon de la galette Jingmai 2012 de ta sélection:

    Bonne journée

  3. @Amelie:
    Content de voir ta trace sur mon blog, j'espere que tu vas bien, peut etre un jour pourrons nous voyager ensemble dans les montagnes a the!

    Thanks for following my blog!

    Merci de ton soutien, je vois que toi aussi, tu suis mon blog avec assiduite et cela me fait tres plaisir. Je suis content que tu aies apprecie mon the de Jingmai, c'est aussi un de mes terroirs preferes.

  4. Dear William,
    Thank you once again for taking us on a virtual tea journey to Yunnan!
    And I am happy that you dare to shake up the dogma "Old tree = better tea": I started thinking there was something wrong with me, as I found that some plantation teas (Mangfei 2008 from Yongde Ziyu, or a Lao Tongzhi Sheng) appeal more to me than some gushu material.

  5. Thank you for reading Gero, I agree with you, it's good to have a neutral standpoint when tasting tea, field management, processing and aging all contribute to make a good tea.