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Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic (Culture, Place, and Nature) Paperback – September 11, 2013
History To Repeat & Some To Not
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"A wealth of valuable information, both historical and anecdotal.should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the subject of Puer tea."―Two Dog Tea Blog
"This fine book has so much to tell us about the political economy of Puer tea over different periods of time and with links to Hong Kong, Taiwan and beyond[I]nformative and well-written."―Tan Chee Beng, Australian Journal of Anthropology
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Top Customer Reviews
I saw my first Puer tea cakes in Beijing in 1983, but not knowing what kind of tea they were I dismissed them as a kind of very cheap strange tea and thus missed the chance to get to know some of the most interesting tea on the market at an early point. My next encounter with Puer tea happened in 2005 and 2006 when I was visiting different tea places in Hangzhou, Fujian and Guangzhou with some Chinese tea experts. Besides studying and enjoying the local teas there was always much talk about and interest in having some Puer. At a tea appraisal in Guangzhou I got to see and taste hundreds of very different Puer tea cakes. Frankly speaking, I had at the time no clear idea what I was enjoying, but got fascinated and began my study. It took years to find any reliable information in print and only through drinking with connoisseurs in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and with Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese did I begin to truly appreciate the many differences. This eventually led me to join a tea tour to Xishuangbanna and other parts of Yunnan in 2011. The small group met in Kunming and was joined by the anthropologist Jinghong Zhang, the author of this book, and after flying down to Jinghong we immediately set out for Yiwu, one of the main places of her research over the years, and for the first time, the veil was lifted and I got to know some of the secrets of Puer. However, even after another visit to Xishuangbanna the following year there were still many unanswered questions about this tea shrouded in mystery.Read more ›
It's like being a child who's told by adults that there are simple rules for everything. When we grow up, most of us learn that life is not quite as simple as our elders had told us.
Reading this book is a way for the Anglophone Pu'er tea lover to grow up. You'll see that the definition of Pu'er tea is contested and always has been, that the standards and practices you thought were immutable are far from that. You'll see that the Pu'er tea industry, from the farmers to the vendors, is made up of people who, understandably, follow their own varying interests as best they can, and that their understanding of their own interests is fallible.
If you want to know where Pu'er tea comes from, how it is made, who makes it, and how it all got that way, and if you want to be told all this by someone who isn't trying to sell you anything beyond the book you hold in your hands, read this book.
Dr Zhang's knowledge of the pu'er industry in the most turbulent of times that she discusses here makes this the number one work for both general reading and academic knowledge.
For the general reader this book is a "page turner". This may at first seem strange that a book on such a specialised and apparently dry subject would be like this. However, the intricacies of the relationships of the growers, producers, buyers and consumers make this read like a detective novel of the highest grade. This book is far from "dry".
Still, at the end, it makes me wonder about the foibles of human beings and our quest for riches over contentment. After all, it is "just" a cup of tea - or is it? Dr Zhang's work will make sure you reconsider that statement.
In the mean time you will be fully educated about the art and science of pu'er tea and the politics of this facet of business in China.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book reads exactly like a sociology student's thesis. If you are looking to learn more about puer tea this may not be the best place to start.Published 11 months ago by Padit
One of the best sources for Pu-erh tea that I've read. I highly recommend it.Published 17 months ago by Jennifer C. Petersen