Bingdao is unquestionably the most famous village in Mengku area, however, Xiao Hu Sai is where you'll find the most ancient tea gardens. Located in the middle of the Western Mountain, the bulk of its garden lie on a South-East oriented slope ranging in altitude from 1400m to 2300m. The village is divided into 3 hamlets populated by the Lahu and the Han.
The bulk of the ancient tea gardens is located above the village on very steep slopes. The roads are in poor conditions, which makes the village hard to access, and the upper gardens even more so.
Apart from the ancient tea gardens, Xiao Hu Sai has a lot of middle-aged gardens planted in the 1980s. From afar it is hard to distinguish them from the ancient tea gardens because they are pruned in a similar manner, only the size of the trunks is different.
Apart from the large amount of ancient tea gardens -an unusual occurence in Mengku- nothing makes this village look special. Just like all the other villages on the Western Mountain, Xiao Hu Sai sits on one of the many sub-mountains that extend from the main ridge.
We opted to get tea from a medium-sized factory loacted in the Han village, it looked very clean and all the teas we tried there were well processed. The mengku processing style is on the green side, similar to what you would find in our Jingmai tea factory and in most parts of Menghai.
Nowhere else in Mengku have we found tea with such bitterness: it is powerful but very short-lived. Beyond this punchy introduction, you'll find a more delicate tea, somewhat akin to Yiwu because of its active mouthfeel, a presence on the gum that is unmistakable. Being an autumn version, you'll get a higher fragrance and a lighter moutfeel. It's a well balanced package: you get bitterness, then fragrance, and finally sweetness, the whole experience feels dynamic. Definitely a village any Pu-erh enthusiast should explore.
For more information about Mengku, you can check our introductory video: