Need help identifying puer
Bought this at a local store, vendor’s description is “Menghai: wild growing Ban Zhang 2006” but I can’t find anything about it on the internet with my poor tea name translation skills :)
Menghai (勐海山):Bānzhāng (班章)
Yunnan province produces the vast majority of pu’er tea. Indeed, the province is the source of the tea’s name, Pu’er Hani and Yi Autonomous County. Pu’er is produced in almost every county and prefecture in the province, but the most famous pu’er areas are known as the Six Famous Tea Mountains (Chinese: 六大茶山; pinyin: liù dà chá shān)
Six famous tea mountains
The six famous tea mountains18 are a group of mountains in Xishuangbanna, renowned for their climates and environments, which not only provide excellent growing conditions for pu’er, but also produce unique taste profiles (akin to terroir in wine) in the produced pu’er tea. Over the course of history, the designated mountains for the tea mountains have either been changed19 or listed differently.202122
In the Qing dynasty government records for Pu’er (普洱府志), the oldest historically designated mountains were said to be named after six commemorative items left in the mountains by Zhuge Liang,21 and using the Chinese characters of the native language of the region.23 These mountains are all located northeast of the Lancang River (Mekong) in relatively close proximity to one another. The mountains’ names, in the Standard Chinese character pronunciation are:
Gedeng (革登山): The term for “leather stirrup” (马蹬, pinyin: mǎdèng)
Mansa (慢撤山): The term for “seed sowing bag” (撒袋, pinyin: sǎdài)
Mangzhi (莽枝山): The term for “copper cauldron” (铜鉧, pinyin: tóngmǔ) [note 1]
Manzhuan (蠻磚山): The term for iron brick" (铁砖, pinyin: tiězhuān)
Yibang(倚邦山): The term for “wooden clapper” (木梆, pinyin: mùbāng)
Yōulè (攸樂山): The term meaning “copper gong” (铜锣, pinyin: tóngluó)
Southwest of the river there are also six famous tea mountains that are lesser known from ancient times due to their isolation by the river.22 They are:
Nánnuò (南糯山): a varietal of tea grows here called zĭjuān (紫娟, literally “purple lady”) whose buds and bud leaves have a purple hue.
For various reasons, by the end of the Qing dynasty or beginning of the ROC period, tea production in these mountains dropped drastically, either due to large forest fires, overharvesting, prohibitive imperial taxes, or general neglect.1923 To revitalize tea production in the area, the Chinese government in 1962 selected a new group of six famous tea mountains that were named based on the more important tea producing mountains at the time, including Youle mountain from the original six.19
Other areas of Yunnan
Many other areas of Yunnan also produce pu’er tea. Yunnan prefectures that are major producers of pu’er include Lincang, Dehong, Simao, Xishuangbanna, and Wenshan. Other tea mountains famous in Yunnan include among others:
Bānzhāng (班章): this is not a mountain but a Hani ethnicity village in the Bulang Mountains, noted for producing powerful and complex teas that are bitter with a sweet aftertaste
Yìwǔ (易武山) : perhaps the most popular tea mountain amongst collectors.
Region is but one factor in assessing a pu’er tea, and pu’er from any region of Yunnan is as prized as any from the six famous tea mountains if it meets other criteria, such as being wild growth, hand-processed tea.