Yaan's dark tea: Ancient yet unknown to many

By Jiang Wanjuan ( ) Updated: 2015-08-06 07:10:06

Yaan's dark tea: Ancient yet unknown to many

An artwork on display in the Yaan Museum shows a process of making Tibetan dark tea in the traditional way. [Photo by Jiang Wanjuan/]

"In the past, both Yunnan and Yaan provided dark tea to Tibetan people, but Yunnan stated to promote their products beyond the specific group much earlier than us," Gan told this journalist in Yaan on Tuesday. "Our marketing is still at the beginning status, and almost 100 percent of Yaan’s dark tea is still sold to the Tibetans. But I think other Chinese people and foreigners will love it as well, because it tastes good and have health benefits."

While passing on the traditional skills, modern technologies and creative innovations are also introduced to give the ancient tea a new life, according to Gan.

"Now we have created more varieties of products for different needs, and introduced digital facilities to better control the temperature and hygiene conditions," he said. "It also saves time."

Like wine, aging is involved for dark tea after the fermentation. The longer the aging, the better the quality it is. Ordinary dark tea takes about two years to age, and those aged over 30 years can be more expensive than gold.

Next time you come across a compressed Tibetan tea brick, look for the year on the label.

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