If you’ve been following along from the beginning of this fun little mystery you know that the gift of tea was pu-erh, probably produced in Yunnan province China. Let’s have a little fun trying to determine exactly where this particular cake of tea came from. I’ve got the label which has supposedly at least the name of the company that made the cake. Let’s try a Google image search first with just the logo. Not surprisingly the results are pretty random as you can see from one of the examples to the right. No quick win.
Back to regular Google for a plaintext search. A direct search of the text “Longshan tea” takes us back to Fujian to the Jian’ou Longshan Tea Factory but I am guessing from the Tea Factory’s product selection that this is not the Longshan I am looking for. Let’s go to first principles. Fortunately I can read a few characters in Chinese, and know a little pinyin (a very little). The word shān (山，mountain) is the top right character, but I don’t recognize the preceding character. A couple of minutes trial and error with a pinyin text writer, the only long that matches is Long (龍, Dragon). It would be really badass if this were Dragon mountain tea. Imagine asking your friends and colleagues, “Would you care for some dragon mountain tea?” But a little more digging reveals that Longshān (龍山) together is just a proper noun possibly referring to anything. It could be a person, place, thing, or just a label like Crystal Spring water.
Maybe I’d better use the Chinese characters. The last one is a slightly mangled Chá (茶）which of course is the Chinese word for tea. The third one I don’t recognize but fortunately I think I can write it out well enough for a character reader to make it out and Google translate made short work of my mediocre script. That word is Ming (茗) which is another proper noun but has an alternate meaning of “young leaves of tea”. So if I want to be generous with my translation, I can say that my gift is a cake of Dragon Mountain Young Leaf Tea. That’s kind of cool, but doesn’t really tell us anything about where it came from. Let’s try a baidu search using these characters. Baidu is the 4th ranked website in the world behind Google, YouTube, and Facebook. I often use it when I want to search for information about or within China.
龍山茗茶 goes into Baidu and out comes…
Many, many, many results for Longshan Ming Cha. Apparently lots of people think Dragon Mountain Young Leaf Tea is a cool name. Fortunately 照片 or Zhàopiàn (photograph) is another one of the few words I recognize by sight so let’s try the image search.
At first the results were disappointing in that there were many longshan ming cha storefronts and logos but it only took a couple of search results page throughs to find what I was looking for.
Following the image result back the source took me to the Valley Hills Creative Packaging Company. Hmmm. The popularity of this name and the the fact that a packaging company is the first place that I trace the logo back to makes me think this path will lead to a dead end. But wait, what’s that on the lower right hand corner of the package? Longshan Tieh Kwan Yin TEA. This looks promising but we have to pause here on our quest until next time.
Next post: Can you say Tieh Kwan Yin Tea six times quickly?