discover
communaute-bulang-CHA-LING

BULANG TRIBE,
GUARDIANS OF TEA

Tea plant forests, a treasure for the Bulang tribe, for China and for the world.

 

pixel-blanc-1280

This local minority community, one of the oldest in Yunnan province, was one of the first to discover the medicinal properties of the forest tea plants.

300x200_Yunnan_prince_bulang

Born in 1943, Su Guowen inherited traditions and expertise that he was charged with preserving and reviving after the country’s Cultural Revolution. Like previous generations, but with especially strong determination, he ensures that the forest remains a garden where every young tea plant is sown, pruned and nurtured, just as in a Western orchard, all while being given the care prescribed by ancient Chinese wisdom.

pixel-blanc-1280
The Bulang people are a people of ‘tea’.

 

We do not consider tea to be a product or a source of profit, but an integral part of our lives. Some tea plants are the same ones that our ancestors tended 1,800 years ago. The tea plant forests are thousands of years old and represent not only a treasure for the Bulang, but also for our nation, for China and for the world.
SU GUOWEN, HEAD AND SPIRITUAL GUIDE OF THE BULANG PEOPLE

ceremonie-arbre-the-CHA-LING

 

The Bulang are Buddhists and every village has its own temple, but older traditions and customs are also evident. Su is a direct descendant of the King of Bulang, and still presides over ceremonies and acts as a spiritual guide for his people.
With infinite prudence and wisdom, the Bulang begin to pick the leaves at the beginning and end of the rainy season: not beforehand, and not afterwards. They know how to climb the tree to reach the leaves without damaging the trunk or bark, at what stage of maturity to pluck the leaves, how to dry them without destroying them and to leave them to ferment slowly and
naturally before pressing them into rounds shaped like the moon to allow them to mature in the dark for 10, 20 or even 30 years. 
In this ‘garden kingdom’ in the green lung of China, the tree can be recognised by its leaves.

Compo-Prince-Bulang-CHA-LING

Today, the Bulang are more conscious than ever of their privilege and responsibility of ensuring the continuity of these forest tea plants by planting under the forest, which also involves protecting the species that surround them, because it is this ecosystem and not just the variety of the trees themselves that promotes the growth of leaves that are used to make
one of the most coveted teas in the world: genuine Pu’er forest tea.

"Our ancestors bequeathed us a legacy that we take pride in respecting: ‘I pass on this fertile soil and these forest tea plants. You must tend to them and protect them at all costs in order to pass them down to future generations and never let them perish’."
Mr Su GuoWen, Prince of the Bulang people