PU-ERH IN YUNNAN
Yunnan is located at the far southwest of China, it is a green and mountainous border province bounded by Laos, Thailand and Myanmar in the south. Yunnan has the most ideal geography and climate for growing tea trees, and is recognized as the origin of all tea in the world.
Located in the southwest part of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, the Six Great Ancient Tea Mountains play a significant role in the birth and evolution of Pu-erh tea. Historically, almost every household in Yunnan grew, harvested and sold Pu-erh tea. Pu-erh was so integral in Yunnan people’s lives that it was once even used by locals to barter for commodities. The wars in the 20th century in China lead to the recession of the Pu-erh tea industry that had flourished for a few hundred years. Along with the declining production and demand, much important historical records and facts were lost in the vast remote mountains of Yunnan province.
Nowadays, Pu-erh tea has regained its popularity and is accepted by the mainstream Chinese society. It is widely sought after for its dynamic taste and investment potential. The influence of this exquisite tea has expanded beyond the borders of China, gaining a foothold in many Asian and Western countries.
Geographic location of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, China:
Professor Zhou Hongjie is the Vice Dean and Professor at Institute of Pu-erh in Yunnan Agricultural University. As a leading researcher in the field of Yunnan Pu-erh tea, Professor Zhou lead and participated in over 10 research projects, and published over 40 research papers. His research includes studies on the advancement of Pu-erh tea processing technology, improvement of quality standards and a strong emphasis on the biochemical analysis of Pu-erh tea.
In 2003, Professor Zhou helped to launch the qualification training and certification program of Yunnan Tea Artists. He was awarded for outstanding achievements in teaching and has trained more than 500 senior tea art masters over the years. He wrote a number of popular publications, including Famous Tea of Yunnan, Health Benefits of Pu-erh and Yunnan Pu-erh Tea.
Besides being an experienced instructor and a best-selling book author, Professor Zhou is also the director of a number of associations and chambers including Yunnan Provincial Government Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Science, Yunnan Provincial Tea Chamber of Commerce, Yunnan Research Institute of Ethnic Tea Culture, and Yunnan Research Institute of Tea Science. He has been nominated and awarded for “Ten Outstanding Figures of Global Pu-erh Tea” and “Tea-horse Award” in 2005 for his contributions in the scientific research and promotion of Pu-erh tea.
Ms. Zhan Yingpei is a renowned scholar in the field of Yunnan Pu-erh tea. She has dedicated over a decade in researching and studying Pu-erh tea, and its rich culture and history. In recent times, Ms. Zhan, amongst a selected few, have led the push to revive the pu-erh tea industry and reconnect it with the world.
Village by village, garden by garden, Ms. Zhan made more than a hundred research expeditions over the span of a decade, to unearth the history and culture from the Six Great Ancient Tea Mountains. Her research and findings are backed by historical archives, interviews with the local tribes and countless pictorial evidence. On every expedition to the isolated villages up in the Tea Mountains, Ms. Zhan devotes all her effort in examining teahouse remnants and cultural relics, consulting descendants of Tea-horse Trade merchants, and tracking down written evidence in archives. After covering more than a thousand kilometers throughout the tea mountain region, she painstakingly outlined the first accurate geographical map of the Six Great Ancient Tea Mountains in Yunnan province.
Apart from her accomplishments in fieldwork, Ms. Zhan has also published many recognized papers on Pu-erh tea. Some of the influential academic publications of Ms. Zhan include The Six Great Ancient Tea Mountains of Pu-erh Tea in China, Xishuangbanna the Origin of Pu-erh, and Yunnan Shuangjiang – Habitation of Tea Ancestors. Her works have left a deep impact on the historical and cultural communities of Pu-erh tea; they are widely considered the rubrics that provide the fundamentals of Pu-Erh tea. Anyone who wishes to dwell in the realm of Pu-erh are recommended to give her books a good read. Ms. Zhan now resides in Kunming, and is in the midst of researching and preparing for her next publication.
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