In Mangjing, the Blang people make tea the ancient way: Mixing charcoal into the tea leaves to roast the tea before adding water to steep. The roasted tea is much more potent than tea brewed the regular way. [Photo: Corey Cooper]
The significance of the Su family to the Blang people goes back many generations. Upon his death, Su's grandfather bequeathed the tea mountains surrounding Mangjing, containing hundred of tea trees-- ranging from 500 to 1,000 years old-- to the Blang people. According to his will, the elder Su had stated that if he had simply left property, gold and silver, or other material wealth to the villagers, the resources would have been quickly used up. Leaving the mountains and the tea trees to the people, however, ensured that the village would endure for many generations.