I’ve always looked at this image with great perplexity. It just takes me to another era. It represents a traditional world that we no longer experience and shows us the hardship of peoples’ life in those days. These potters would walk with 150 to 300 pounds of tea on their back and trudge up to 6 miles per day in the Tea Horse route that went from Sichuan or Yunnan to Tibet. Tea was exchanged for horses. The Tea Horse route of course defined tremendously the tea itself. Large tea varietals were pressed, as they still are today, into bricks in order to facilitate transportation. By the time the tea reached its destination, its characteristics had effectively changed.
We, who love tea, are keeping this tradition alive.
As for this humble chazhuang, we will be soon offering another brand.
A few years ago I saw an amazing documentary about puer tea production in Yiwu, Yunnan. It was a research project by the anthropologist Jinghong Zhang, a Yunnan University lecturer . The documentary is composed by several parts but the one I found most interesting was the one featuring a tea producer named Mr. Zheng. This wasn’t a promotional video. Mr. Zheng wasn’t trying to sell his tea. It was instead a research project into the puer world where he shared his knowledge with the author. I was so impressed that I tried to find his teas for a long time without success. Eventually, I managed to reach Mr. Zheng and decided to open Tea Encounter website where I can now share his teas with others. In case you haven’t had the chance to see the documentary and you are a puer tea drinker, I would strongly recommend you to.