Meo, Karen, Nagas, Wa, Bulang, Lahu, H‘mong...... names most people in the West have never heard of. These are the hill-tribes which have been using the leaves of the tea plant for thousands of years and still do today!

The Bulang have verbally transferred history of a prince named Ai Ling who declared the tea plant as cultural heritage and basis of the tribes tradition. Still today tea is the main income source of numerous tribes in the forests on south Chinese boarder. While most of the forests on the Chinese side have vanished, the H‘mong and Zhou on the Vietnamese and Lao side have large areas of untouched rainforest with numerous wild tea trees, some of them more than 1000 years old. Through re-planting hundreds of years ago, there are some villages surrounded by tea forests.

While the H‘mong in Laos have nearly lost the tradition of tea making, the Zhao and H‘mong in Vietnam have kept the tradition alive.

It is unknown from were these tribes originally came, but looking at their cloths, it seems that they have the same roots. On the other hand, the social structures are as different as they could be. Some have a matriarchal, some a patriarchal society and these are still functioning.