Monday, April 28, 2014

Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic by Jinghong Zhang

I'm always on the look out for new tea books to read. This one was ordered after a recommendation from +Tony Gebely of +World of Tea fame. I was especially drawn to it because I had never seen an English language book devoted exclusively to puerh tea. Although it is a scholarly study, I found it to be an engaging and fascinating read. Focusing mainly on Yiwu, Zhang gives a through analysis of the recent peaks and valleys of the puerh industry in China. I was previously aware of the 2007 market crash but I did not have all of the details.

The videos that the author shot during her research add another layer. Part of my enjoyment of tea stems from gaining an understanding of the people and culture that produced it. Whether it's a woman picking tea as she complains about her daughter-in-law or a tense tea room negotiation, each video demonstrates the talking points in the book extremely well.

You can view the companion videos to this book at this link:

http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/books/Zhang_PUER_TEA_videos.html

Book reviews are always hard because I don't want to give too much away. Simply put, this is a book that every tea lover needs to read. Even if you aren't a fan of puerh it gives an excellent window into the workings of the Chinese tea industry.

Find out more about this book here.

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