Take Your Tea With You
A robot with some Pu-Erh Tea

Tea brick mystery part 2: three clues

A robot with some Pu-Erh TeaI put out feelers for information on several popular Facebook tea pages including Tea Drinkers, Gong Fu Cha, and International Tea Talk, as well as blogs like TeaDB and was received very quick responses from several people on Facebook.  The most obvious point was that this tea brick was not green tea but is in fact Pu-Erh tea some of which you can see at the feet of our robot friend here. Even though I am only a beginner and I trust that the friendly enthusiasts on Facebook know what they are talking about, I am not just going to take their word for it.  In the process of proving to myself that this is Pu-Erh tea, I hope to rapidly learn as much as I can about Pu-Erh tea.  More about Pu-Erh tea soon.

I sent a message to my friend from Hunan (the person who sent this gift) asking her to tell me where the tea brick came form.  Her response was one word.  Fujian, sent in Chinese so it was even shorter, 福建.  Did I mention that she was reticent?  At least she didn’t simply reply Shangdian (the shop).  I sensed she was becoming annoyed at either my questions or my apparent fascination with something that to her may have seemed quite ordinary.  Still, narrowing things down to a single province will hopefully make it easier to trace this tea back to the field or fields in which it was grown even if Fujian has the same land area as North Carolina or New York state and a population of almost 37 million people.  Perhaps my virtual explorations will someday soon take me to Fujian?

Longshan Pu-Erh Tea Logo
Close up of the logo on the tea brick’s wrapper

So far we have, Pu-Erh and Fujian.  What’s the third clue?  The package label of course.  But in fact, I have no idea if Longshan Tea is a descriptive mark, a distributor, or the originator.  Following this path will hopefully be a means to learn a little about the modern tea trade as a whole.  It’s only a brick of tea but already I am getting excited about the opportunities for discovery.  Feel free to solve the mystery for me in the comments.  I am a firm believer in collaboration!  Exploration of the first clue begins with the next post.

Next post: Pu-Erh is human…



  1. By definition pu’er tea comes from Yunnan; if it doesn’t come from Yunnan then even if it’s the same leaves prepared in exactly the same way it can’t be called pu’er (or pu’erh; either one, they’re just different transliterations). It’s the same idea as for wine with Bordeaux only coming from Bordeaux, it’s just not named after the location. Pu’er is the name of a tea area village there that later came to be the name of a type from a broader area.

    1. John B, thanks very much for diving in. I am having a bit of fun here as I learn about tea and I appreciate you participating in my voyage of discovery. Your role is like the stranger the adventurer encounters on the road during the first 10 minutes of gameplay. (I am a former excessive role playing game player who has long ago found the real world much more fascinating than any fictional fantasy)

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