Introduction

The history of puerh tea is fascinating. Puerh tea is one of the oldest types of tea in China with a rich history that can be traced back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) over 1700 years ago. At it’s height of popularity puerh tea was freely traded along the Silk Road and was used as a unit for measuring the value of commodities (not unlike how money is used today) for the bartering of goods. Premium puerh tea was offered as a tribute tea to the Emperor of China and to this day puerh tea remains a highly valuable commodity. Puerh tea is revered in China as a medicinal and health tea. Amongst the ethnic tribes in Yunnan Province puerh tea represents wealth that can be offered as part of a dowry and is a valuable gift that is passed from one generation to another.

Today puerh tea attracts a cult like following and lifelong fans. Puerh tea possesses a unique character in flavor and aroma but it is often the sense of well-being that comes from drinking the tea that is most deeply appreciated amongst devoted puerh connoisseurs. The aging potential of puerh tea has spurred huge collections that take up warehouses, underground cellars and home basements creating avenues for investment and speculation.

Entering the world of puerh tea can be daunting as it is a complex one filled with many pitfalls where the markets are flooded with fake and low quality products with many sources providing conflicting and unreliable information. Patience, perseverance and striving to progressively improve on your level of knowledge are crucial towards understanding this challenging and oftentimes mysterious tea. The journey of puerh tea often starts bitter and rough much like a young green puerh that has yet to mature and reach a level of refinement. It is for those who are thoughtful and determined that stay the course who are rewarded by the sweet taste of success that brews appreciation of an age treasure that warms the body and soul.

The Golden Melon Tribute Cake is more than 100 years old. This famous tea belongs to the Beijing Palace Museum and is believed to have been given as a tribute to Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty who reigned from 1875 to 1908.

The tea leaves that are used to make puerh tea supports that the origins of tea started in China. The best raw material harvested for puerh tea comes from ancient tea trees that are centuries and sometimes over a thousand years old. There is nowhere else in the world that can lay claim to such ancient and historic tea trees. - Photos from the article Lao Banzhang Tea Becomes Gold by Luo Ying Yin from The Art of Tea No.6

 Puerh tea comes in many different shapes and forms.

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