(Puerh Tea Cream made in Qing Dynasty)
Puer solid instant tea, is also call tea cream, and cha gao in Chinese. To be frankly speaking, I was not familiar with solid instant tea until I happened to read the book, which was wrote by Mr Jie Chen, who is also the general director in Modern Tea Company.
The initial cha gao can be dated to Tang dynasty, while it was still together with tea leaves. The real cha gao was invented in Song dynasty, the process was improved in Song dynasty due to the high civilization at that time, and the emperor Song Wei Zong had contributed a lot because he like tea very much. The main craft was extraction with high temperature and refined the infusion by squeezing. Cha gao was firstly recorded in MING JI LV 茗荈录 as a individual kind of tea.
However, the process of cha gao was failed to be handed down in Ming dynasty, because emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang innovated the process of compressed cake into loose tea, he especially thought it was waste of money to make such cha gao.
Unit Qing dynasty cha gao was re-produced in royal palace only, one reason is for the sake of safety for those emperors, the other reason is that the technics was totally confidential. As a result, cha gao was only popular in palace, and was took as the royal sign to grant to some foreign envoys or a few important officers. At that time, cha gao also wore mystery medical function, could cure all the diseases.
Cha gao disappeared again with the collapse of Qing dynasty in 1911. In 2004, one piece of cha gao, collected by Mr Nu Xun, was sold by auction at the price of RMB 12,000. Since then, it was got to be known in public. Modern Tea Company was founded in 2005, is the first professional company, manufactures cha gao. Although there are many such companies went into this field in next years, Modern Tea still lead the advanced technology among those factories.
Based on the process of instant tea, the modern technology of cha gao is exaction and dry both under low temperature, which can protect active ingredients from destroyed. Because we can control the process, and can remove some bitter ingredients by purpose, modern cha gao does not have any bitter taste as puer tea.
However, just like coin has two sides, solid instant tea comes with less after-taste sweet and little aroma, which is the most difficult technology all the companies of post-processed tea products have to solve. Besides, drinking tea is supposed to be a way to slow life, enhance friendship between people. For the traditional tea lovers, there is less enjoyments.
Cha gao is definitely modern tea creature into high-speed life, while it is just kind of tea, not magic medicine can cure many diseases, we should get to learn it scientifically. If you like it, then enjoy it with simple pleasure.
If you want to visit the Museum of Chinese Tea Cream, here is the address: No. 5 Block 34, Kind Tea Market, Guan Nan road, Guan Du district, Kunming, China.
(Mabol @ Kunming, Dec 14, 2013)