From mountains in eastern Assam to the gulf of Tonkin spreads a mountain chain with deep rainforest. This is the home of the original tea plant. The plant grows over there, either scattered in the forest or as large groups .All tribes collect the leaves from these trees to consume them as tea or vegetable.

The tribes consider these plants as their heritage and take care of the trees, some of them more than thousand years old. After the British had tried to plant Chinese tea plants in Darjeeling ( with little success ), they discovered the same plant in the rainforest of Nagaland.

One of the main areas of ancient tea culture was the Chinese-Burmese boarder. The province Yunnan has been a trading place for thousands of years. The city of Pu Erh is the oldest known tea trading place. From there trade routes went to Tibet and Vietnam/Laos. Still today Yunnan is one of the centers of Chinese tea production, primarily from large government plantations. In the north of Vietnam and Laos various tribes, among them H‘mong and Zhao, have a century old tea culture and collect leaves from the ancient trees.