There are several varieties of tea — white, black, scented and green to name a few.
The mountainous region of southwest China in Yunnan Province produces a special tea called “Puer”.
The custom with “Puer” is to pick new tea and drink old tea. This refers to a practice unique for “Puer” tea of aging the tea in storage to obtain the unique flavor.
In addition, modern science has recognized “Puer” for its health benefits beyond black tea.
In 225 A.D., when China was divided into the three kingdoms of Wei, Shu, and Wu, the prime minister of Shu led a military expedition to Yunnan.
Historical records say that many of the Shu troops came down with eye diseases. After they drank the boiled tea, it is believed that the troops were cured.
The leaves came from a tea tree in Yunnan. Over time, tea drinking for health benefits became a tradition in other areas of China including Tibet.
There is an old saying in Tibet. “Better three days without food than a day without tea.” Historical records show that Tibetans started drinking tea during the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD) in 641.
Tibet does not grow tea trees, so the famous Tea Horse Road from Tibet to Yunnan was opened. Over the centuries, tens of thousands of horses were traded with China for tea.
In the early 19th century, Emperor Daoguang named “Puer” tea as a “Divine Tribute to the Kingdom of Heaven”.
Continued with The Magic of Puer Tea – Part 2
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