mengku tea region & 18 villages

Mengku Tea Region: A Complete Guide to Mengku Pu Erh Tea

As the birthplace of tea, China's Yunnan province can be divided into 3 major tea areas: Xishuangbanna, Pu'er and Lincang. Amongst them, Lincang is the largest and also known in China as the "world's tea inventory”.

In this publication, we'll introduce pu erh tea from the Mengku tea region, one of the most popular regions of Lincang, where many high quality pu erh teas are made.

The tea region is named after the town Mengku in the northern part of Shuangjiang county in Lincang, where the majority of its inhabitants rely on the tea industry for its income. The people of Mengku have a long history of tea cultivation and developed a special tea culture. The region is renowned high-quality pu erh tea made from the local Mengku Big Leaf variety.

The Mengku Big Leaf variety

The excellent climate and soil conditions allow the native Mengku big leaf tea trees flourish and grow tall. The leaves harvested from the Mengku big leaf trees are large, highly nutritious, rich in polyphenols. In fact, the Mengku big leaf variety is the most widespread tea tree variety in the whole of western Yunnan.

Mengku is known for its ancient tea trees. In fact, 80% of the ancient tea gardens in Shuangjiang county with tea trees over 120 years old are located in the Mengku tea region. The ancient tea tree are located at an high altitude covering an area of about 2092 acres. It's regarded as the largest highest altitude and highest density wild ancient tea tree region, also called the “tea tree gene pool”.

nanmeng river

Mengku can be divided into the eastern and the western half divided by the Nanmeng river. Ma'an mountain is located at the east side of the river, while Bangma mountain is on the west side of the river.

Ma'an Mountain (East Half Mountain)

With an average altitude of 1815m and an average annual temperature of 15.58℃, the Ma'an mountain (east of the river) is covered in clouds and fog throughout the year, with lush foliage, plenty of sunshine and abundant mountain 'qi', making it an ideal place for tea trees. They are tall, with a spreading canopy and dense, downy leaves. Teas from this area are the most representative of Mengku tea. The leaves are straight and firm and produces teas with a robust taste, strong aroma and a powerful and long-lasting aftertaste.

Bangma Mountain (West Half Mountain)

The tea trees in the Bangma mountain (west of the river) enjoys the sunshine of the sunset hours. Tea made from leaves of Bangma tend to be more feminine: fresh aroma, slight bitterness that quickly transforms into sweetness, and a mellow and soft mouthfeel.

18 Villages of Mengku

Besides categorising mengku tea by the east and west side of the Nanmeng river, pu erh connoisseurs tend to divide the teas of this region by the village it originates from. As the saying goes: “18 villages of Mengku, each has good tea”. Of the 18 villages, 8 of them are located on the east side of the river, while 10 are situated on the west side.

Villages of the Eastern half of the Mountain

The 8 villages on the east side of the river of are Mangbang, Ba Nuo, Najiao, Bangdu, Nasai (including Zheng Qi Tang and Xiaocun), Donglai, Mangna, and Chengzi.

Mangbang

The Pu erh tea produced in Mangbang is slightly bitter and astringent after brewing with a very rapid sweet aftertaste. The tea is full-bodied, with a deep and long flavour. The production area is at a high altitude, with a mild climate and abundant rainfall.

Ba Nuo

Ba Nuo is another village on the east side of the river. It's famous it's unique way of cultivating tea known as 'teng tiao cha' or 'vine tea'. Banuo pu erh tea has a strong and long-lasting aroma with a mellow and thick mouthfeel.

Najiao

Najiao is at an altitude of about 1800 metres, and the main production of pu erh tea is also vine tea. The tea produced here is sweet, and has a delicate flavour with less bitterness and astringency.

Bangdu

Situated at an altitude of 1180 metres, Bangdu gets plenty of sunshine, the climate and rainfall are ideal for growing tea. The tea here has a strong aroma, a golden and bright soup colour, a strong mouthfeel, a rich flavour and a long lasting 'chaqi' (tea energy).

Nasai

Nasai is located in the centre of the eastern half of the mountain, with a high density of ancient trees. There are three villages under the jurisdiction of Nasai, which are Xiaocun, Zheng Qi Tang and Nasai Dazhai, and most of the residents of the three villages are Lahu minority people. Among them, Zheng Qi Tang is the village with the most ancient tea trees.

zheng qi tang mengku tea region

Nasai puerh is known as 'little Bingdao', due to its sweet taste and full flavour. The taste is also strong, but well-balanced, with lingering sweet aftertaste.

Donglai

Donglai is at an altitude of 1650 metres, with an average annual temperature of 20°C and sufficient precipitation, making it suitable for the large-scale growth of tea trees. Donglai Puerh tea has an extremely strong and persistent aroma, with a quick and strong aftertaste, and a rich and layered flavour.

Mangna

With an altitude of 1150 metres, Mangna covers a wide area and produces a large amount of tea. the special feature of Mangna Puerh tea is the long-lasting chaqi, which makes the tea taste richer after aging.

Chengzi

Chengzi is 1129 metres above sea level, and is a village with a combination of Yi and Han people. The puerh tea here has a bitter tone and a slight astringency. It has a persistent aftertaste, and is last for many steeps of tea.

Villages of the Western half of the Mountain

The western half of the mountain includes Bingdao (and the 5 villages under its jurisdiction), Baka, Dongguo (including Lushuitang), Dahusai, Gongnong, Banggai, Bingshan, Hudong, Daxueshan, and Xiaohusai.

Bingdao

bingdao mengku tea region

Bingdao is at an altitude of more than 1600m. The 5 villages under its jurisdiction are Bingdao Old Village, Nanpo, Dijie, Bawai and Nuowu Village, where the majority of the inhabitants belong to the Dai minority group.

Bingdao tea has almost no bitterness and astringency, with a strong and delicate sweetness and freshness, mellow and lingering aroma, and fast and long-lasting aftertaste. As a result, its incredibly popular among beginning pu erh tea drinkers.

Baka

Baka is at an altitude of 1600 metres above sea level, the old tea plantation is estimated to be around 20 acres in size, which was expanded with younger tea tres other tea trees in the 1980s.

Baka pu erh tea is sweet and mild, smooth and full-bodied, and has a layered flavour.

Dongguo

Dongguo is located in the depths of the western side of the river at 1750m above sea level. The climate is characterised by relatively low temperature and high humidity. The more stable natural conditions resulted in a higher number of century-old tea trees in the region. Lu Shui Tang (2300m) is a smaller village which falls under the jurisdiction of Dongguo, and is also known as the 'hidden gem of pu erh tea'.

lu shui tang pu erh tea village

Dongguo tea has a style all its own. The tea leaves are small, because they're a blend of big, medium and small leaf varieties. The aroma of the tea melts into the water after brewing, with intense fragrance and strong flavour, bitter at first, but with a long lasting sweet aftertaste.

Dahusai

Dahusai puerh is a representative of Mengku's black big leaf tea, the tea trees are generally more than 100 years old, and the area of ancient tea plantations makes up 40% of the total area of its tea production area.

Dahusai Puerh tea is rich in content, with a predominantly floral and fruity aroma, a hint of bitterness, and a slow and lingering sweet aftertaste.

Gongnong

With an altitude of 1558m, an average annual temperature of 20°C and a rainfall of 1750mm, Gongnong is ideal for growing tea trees. The Puerh tea produced here has a clear golden soup colour, a sweet taste and a strong tea aroma with a distinct honey scent that lingers in the mouth.

Banggai

Banggai is situated at an altitude of 1400m, with a high average annual temperature of 26ºC and abundant rainfall, making the tea leaves rich in nutrition.

Banggai pu erh tea is characterised by thick leaves, a bright yellow soup colour and a sweet taste.

Bingshan

The altitude of Bingshan is between 870m-2700m, the average temperature is 20ºC which is relatively low. As a result, tea trees in this area grow slower.

Bingshan tea has a strong aroma of fruit and honey, the bitter and astringent taste is heavy but disappears quickly, the soup colour is yellow and bright, and the tea can be steeped for many times.

Hudong

Hudong's altitude is 1150m, with an average annual temperature of 25ºC, Hudong tea is pleasantly fresh, smooth and mild and can be brewed many times.

Daxueshan

Daxueshan is located on the main peak of Bangma Mountain, with a highest altitude of 3233m. The ancient tea trees are at an altitude of 2200 to 2750m, and are known as the highest altitude ancient tea gardens in the world.

Daxueshan pu erh tea features an orchid aroma with honey sweetness. The taste is slightly bitter with pleasant sensation on the tongue.

Xiaohusai

Xiaohusai is situated at an altitude of 1800m and the villagers are mainly Lahu people. Xiaohusai has the largest ancient tea tree plantation in Mengku. The tea produced here has a very strong aroma of fruit and honey. The taste is slightly bitter with pronounced astringency and a smooth texture.

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