More than 1,700 years ago a small batch of Pu’er was sold to Tibet. It quickly became a daily necessity for Tibetans to supplement their basic diet of meat and cheese. Tibetans say: ‘Living without food for three days is better than going without [Pu’er] tea for a single day.’ Yunnan is a land of rugged mountains and steep valleys which meant that Pu’er was transported strapped to horses and could take months before it reached its destination. This was the beginning of the Ancient Tea Horse Road and during the slow journey the Pu’er would naturally ferment.
The people enjoyed the richer full-bodied taste as well as the fragrant aroma, and the Pu’er we know today was born. Over the centuries Pu’er has been a key player in the history of Asia and beyond: For more than a thousand years premium Pu’er was offered to the Emperor of China as Tribute Tea.
The Chinese Imperial Army traded Pu’er bricks with Genghis Khan and the Tibetans for their strong horses. Pu’er Money Traders have used Pu’er bricks as money in China, Mongolia, Tibet and Russia. Pu’er was even well known among the native people of northern Canada who were trading across the Bering Strait. It was greatly prized by the Tang Dynasty, and today the best Pu’er per ounce sells at auction for many times more than the price of gold.