Gift from the Forest: A life spent amongst tea

The world of Chinese tea is at once easily accessible and nearly impossible to fully grasp. Even when choosing one specific variety — such as southwest China’s famous Pu’er tea (普洱茶) — the permutations, growing conditions and serving methods appear endless. For more than three generation, the Shi family has sought to find a subtle balance between obsessive connoisseurs and the newly initiated while sourcing the finest leaves from the prefectures of southern Yunnan.

Tea has been drunk in China for a few thousand years, although no one knows explicitly when the practice began. Chinese myth points to the demigod Shennong (神农) as the godfather of tea drinking, while DNA analysis suggests the first strain ever to be cultivated — Camellia sinensis — was endemic to portions of modern-day Myanmar, Yunnan and Sichuan provinces and put into cultivation about 3,000 years ago.

Over time, of course, tea became China’s drink of choice — as ubiquitous as water, steeped in history and available in a dazzling array of flavors. For families such as the Shis, tea is as much a philosophy as it is a product. Without being too trite, it influences the quality and tenor of their lives. This is a fact borne out not only monetarily, but on a daily and seasonal basis.

“Tea can become a discipline that fosters an unhurried temperament while encouraging psychological introspection,” says Ms Shi. She is the head a family tea business in southern Yunnan called Gift from the Forest Teas (森之馈). The origin of the business grew out of her experiences more than 20 years ago, when an adolescent Ms Shi and her grandfather would hike through the rainforests of Xishuangbanna (西双版纳) in search of wild tea trees — some of them centuries old. After collecting enough leaves, they would return home and carefully prepare the forest-gathered tea.

While this preparation process is at least a few centuries old — varying from village to village and sometimes house to house — today everyone in China knows the end result is one of the country’s most sought-after tea varieties, Pu’er. The method Shi learned from her grandfather, at its most basic, is fairly simple — pick, sort, clean, sun-dry, hand-rub, dry by roasting, shape into a desired shape, wrap in banana leaves and allow to ferment in the sun.

For Shi this process is by now ingrained and intuitive. But the science of making high-quality Pu’er tea involves careful temperature modulation, the precise stimulation of enzymes and perfect timing. “To me,” she explains, “the procedure involves going through the required and proper motions, but also necessitates personal ethics and aesthetics. You have to use your hands. This is paramount.”

And so each spring and autumn, Ms Shi can be found traveling the Yunnan countryside in search of small-hold, forest-based farms that live up to her expectations. She focuses almost entirely on areas in Lincang (临沧), Pu’er, Yiwu (易武) and the slopes of Bulang Mountain.

Local weather conditions — temperature, humidity, sunlight and rainfall 

levels — factor into the job of selection, as do soil quality, elevation, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers. “All of these considerations affect the taste and quality of tea,” she says. “You cannot violate the basic laws of nature. Ecosystems need to be left in as much of a natural state as possible, and the most important thing is that the plants are free from pollution.”

Taboos of using China’s chopsticks

First, don’t use it to hit the side of your bowl or plate to make a lot of noise, because Chinese people think only beggars would do this to beg for meals. 

Second, when you use it, don’t stretch out your index finger, which would be regarded as a kind of accusation to others. Never use it to point at others.
 Third, it is thought to be an impolite behavior when you suck the end of a chopstick. People will think you lack family education.
 Fourth, don’t use it to poke at every dish without knowing what your want. 
And last, don’t insert it vertically into the bowls or dishes. Chinese people do this only when they burn incense to sacrifice the dead.

Xinjiang : Lovely province where Silk Route Originated ( 2013)

Xinjiang Chinese新疆pinyinXīnjiāng), officially Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is an autonomous region of China in the northwest of the country. It is the largest Chinese administrative division, the 8th largest country subdivision in the world, spanning over 1.6 million km2 and the most populous amongst the ten largest national subdivisions. It contains the disputed territory of Aksai Chin administered by China.

 Xinjiang contains China’s smaller border with Russia (which is 40 km/24 mi long; the remainder of the China-Russia border is 3,605 km/2,240 mi long, and is taken up by the Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang provinces), but its other international borders are with Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. 
It is also bordered, to the south, by Tibet, easily its longest border, when including the Eastern Tibetan disputed territories. It has abundant oil reserves and is China’s largest natural gas-producing region.

Trekking along China-Myanmar Border

It was a thrill trekking through China-Myanmar Border,we could come across rivers, lakes, mountains, local people their life and food habits & culture.


We trekked around 7-8 days ….going through the narrow green bushy path along the river into forest, hills and animals.

Just Unforgettable trekking in my life. 

Third largest city of China 🇨🇳… Must visit Guangzhou…..!!!!!!

Guangzhou is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province, People’s Republic of China. Located on the Pearl River, about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and north-northeast of Macau, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port

One of the five National Central cities.

Guangzhou is the third largest Chinese city and southern China’s largest city.