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In tea shops, when you see tea compressed into a variety of shapes, like cakes, bowls, or brick, the tea is undoubtedly Pu'er tea from Yunnan. You may find it strange. But it's to aid in transportation, as Pu'er tea comes from the high mountains.
Tao Cha Ju is filled with a collection of Pu'er cakes on the shelves. The shop owner, Mr Xiao, told me that all his teas are collected from ancient tea trees in natural forests of Yunnan. The 100% natural Pu'er tea helps aid digestion, reduce the risk of cancer, and lower cholesterol.
Pu'er tea has a very unique taste. It was said to have developed because transportation in ancient times took weeks until it reached town. During this period, the tea leaves would begin to ferment in the humidity and release a strong, fragrant aroma.
Thus, Pu'er tea became unique in that it tastes better after fermenting. This is in direct contrast with other teas, which are best drank soon after it's dried. Some connoisseurs would to pay millions for 100-year-old Pu'er teas.
Though 100-year-old Pu'er teas are almost impossible to find on the market any more, you can still find 2 to 10 year old Pu'er at Mr. Xiao's shop. Price for a round two-year-old Pu'er cakes (357g) is about RMB 150.
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FuSan Lacquered Thread Sculpture