Smoked Tea by Singpho People

The Singpho (Chinese: Jingpo) ethnic group inhabits a vast area reaching from the most eastern areas of the Indian Arunachal Pradesh, upper Assam and Nágaland to northern Burma and Yunnan, China. Their knowledge of the effects and use of tea plants is probably the oldest in the world. They inhabit the area that is considered the original habitat of large-leaf tea shrubs known as Camelia Sinensis var. Assamica or Yunnan large-leaf species. 

Singpho people



Tea has been an integral part of their lifestyle for centuries while its processing and use probably has not changed much. When harvested, the leaves are heated in metal woks until they turn brown. Then they are sun-dried for several days. Then the tea leaves are moistened again and stuffed into bamboo tubes that are hung above hearths in the huts. After about a week the tea leaves harden and keeps the shape of the inside of the bamboo sections. In this form it is stored for several years during which its taste becomes more refined, smooth and whole. Its maturation can be compared to wine or Yunnan pu-erh. In the traditional Singpho community, tea is drunk after each meal and is used not only as a delicious beverage but also medicine. It is not a coincidence that it was the Singpho King Bisa Gam who introduced original Indian tea shrubs to British Colonel Robert Bruce.

Tea Maturing










2014 Singpho Falap Tribal Smoked Tea
Singpho Falap means „tea of Singpho people“. Right after its unpacking, unforgettable smoky aroma will spread around and resemble a scout coming back after spending two weeks sitting at fire in the forest. Dry leaves have rather greenish to green – brown colour and an intense smoky aroma. Golden green in a cup with a distinct smoky aroma again. The flavour, on the contrary, is very delicate even smooth. This very delicate creamy nature of the tea flavour with a slight hint of smokiness, underlined with spicy tones and sweet woodness – that all creates a well balanced and mature impression.

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