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357's philosophy of puerh tea and 750's wisdom of grape wine

You know that the common size of puerh cake is 357g. But have you wondered why ? Does 357 mean anything special?

Puerh cakes can be dated back to 2000 years ago although there is no conclusive proof. It’s called Round Tea(Chinese: 圆茶, 即七子饼茶; Pin Yin: qī zǐ bǐng chá ) since Qing dynasty, and Qing government standardized the size of 357 grams for the purpose of easy calculation, which facilitated the transport, convenient trade, taxation and better management. Each tube with 7 cakes is 2.5 kgs, each cake is 357 grams as a result.

After the founding of new China, Yunnan tea factories continued to adopt the size of 357 grams for better management, since each tube is 2.5kg, and one carton with 12 tubes is around 30 kgs in total.

It’s very interesting that among Chinese numbers in The Book of Changes (Chinese: 易经; pinyin: yì jīng), one, three, five, seven and nine are positive numbers. And three,five and seven are lucky numbers between. In other words, 357 also indicate the spirit of Chinese tea culture, because :

Firstly, three represents sky, earth and people, people should be harmonious with nature. There also needs right time, right place and right people if we wish to enjoy a good cup of tea.

Secondly, five represents five elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth, which are the source of Chinese culture. Meanwhile, puerh tea has the most complicated and abundant taste, which is more than the five basic tastes (sour, sweet, bitter, spicy and salty).

Thirdly, seven is Shao Yang(Chinese:少阳;PinYin: shǎo yáng), represents the spirit of dragon.

What’s more, the sum of 3, 5, 7 is 15. And each 15th in Chinese calender is the date of full moon, which also means it’s time for family or friends to meet together.

Now you may wonder why the standard size bottle is 750ml as well?

Since the Romans, among other things, developed glass blowing, glass was quickly found to be a good medium for storing wine - it did not affect the wine's flavor, and you could easily see what wine was inside the bottle, and so on.

However, standardization of the size and shape became another questions.

Bottles ended up being around 700ml to 800ml as an easy to carry size that was also able to be made easily. It is also said that 700ml to 800ml is the size of bottle that could be hand-blown with a single lung full of air. The bottom line is that no one is really sure.Up until around 1945, wines from Burgundy and Champagne often came in 800ml bottles.

But how does the standard size bottle become 750ml ? It also facilitated the transport of wine, says Jean-Marc Bahans, professor at the University Montesquieu Bordeaux IV and legal scholar on the vine and wine.

"At the time, vessel capacity was calculated in barrels. A barrel of Bordeaux was 900 liters. If we divide 900 by 0.75 liter, we get 1200, one hundred cases of twelve bottles. As usual, the origin is found in practice. "

However, there is also an alternative saying. 750ml is nearly identical to one fifth of a gallon, a very typical American measurement. The standard size of 750ml is established by US in 1970s, which indeed struck a balance between American fluid ounce measurements and metric to standardize glass production globally. and many European countries followed it because they wanted to sell wine to Unite States. This The shape of wine bottles varies considerably, but a handful of shapes dominate the market place.

What’s more, French always say drink less but better. 750ml is just about the right amount for a meal for two. Two to three glasses per person in a bottle.

What a coincidence if puerh cake was 375 grams, which is a half of 750, just kidding.

(Mabol@Kunming, Nov 18, 2016)

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