Jing Gu Yang Ta village is in Jing Gu county of Simao prefecture (景谷秧塔寨). It is well known for it’s “Da Bai” (大白 – Big White) tea. Actually the tea here is not Camellia Sinensis rather another varietal called Camellia Taliensis. Camellia Taliensis growing in Jing Gu’s red soil has prominent large fat leaves and hairy white buds. Tea from this region is well-known for it’s beautiful appearance, and tea sellers have been know to blend this tea with Yi Wu tea to make it (Yi Wu tea) more beautiful and bright in appearance while at the same time bolstering it’s sweetness and thickness.
We visited this tea garden in mid-February 2010 (Chinese New Year time) and made contact with the village leaders who manage this village cooperative tea garden. When we went the weather was dry, and the soil had been mulched and turned just two weeks before. This tea garden contains trees between 60 and 350 years old, it is near the village and has been tended for hundreds of years. This year because of dry conditions water was brought in and ladled at the base of these trees by hand. It is a lovely example of a cooperatively run and owned tea garden and one that has been tended lovingly by its participants. The tea here is sought by many producers and the Yang Ta co-op is able to sell all of its tea at prices that allow them to live a comfortable lifestyle. We were lucky enough to be able to convince them to reserve 80 kilograms of their wild and ancient arbor tea for us.