What does puerh tea have to do with marriage? July 13 2014

What does puerh tea have to do with marriage? That is an excellent question and I’ll give you my answer in a minute. This question was planted in my head last December. Lamu and I had just finished putting together our Limited Edition Puerh Gongfu Starter sets. A good friend of ours bought one and was very excited about the possibilities it offered. She asked if we could do a special one for her friend who was getting married this summer. I told her we would see what we could do. We thought about it a lot. Lamu and I spent many days in the Kunming tea markets finding just the right pieces that would make a nice wedding set. The more we thought about it this idea gained a deeper significance in our minds. We wanted to make this something really special to offer to our customers.

I have never taken marriage lightly. I view it as a commitment for life. This is how I was raised. Until my father passed last Summer my parents had been married just shy of 45 years. Both my grandparents and nearly all of my extended family have been in successful, lifelong marriages. Divorce was uncommon. Raised in this environment I take marriage seriously. I stayed single until long into my 30’s looking for the right woman for me. That woman is undoubtedly my wife Lamu.

Lamu’s family also has a long history of successful marriages. She will occasionally tease me by reminding me that Tibetans have historically practiced poly-husbandry; one wife with multiple husbands. That’s not gonna happen. Our relationship is in a very big way tied to puerh tea. Late last Spring I had the life changing experience of trying puerh tea for the first time. It was a very emotional experience. Puerh felt familiar to me, even though I had never had it before. It was what I had been searching for. When I realized that puerh tea, like Lamu, come from the same place in China I proposed to her the idea that we start this company. We would have opportunities to travel back to see her family and I can work to introduce more people to this amazing tea.

While we were in Yunnan this Spring Lamu and I were married in a Tibetan ceremony with her family. We were married with my family in Seattle last Summer. The Tibetan wedding was amazing. I felt like I was dressed like Genghis Khan. We were both wearing traditional Tibetan ceremonial outfits used by her family for decades. The week before the wedding we were down in the jungles of Xishuangbanna meeting with tea farmers and sourcing puerh. The week after the wedding we were right back down there again.

During the entire trip I thought often about how to make our wedding tea sets special. This brings us back to the original question. “What does puerh tea have to do with marriage?” The answer that I have is that treated with love both can improve with time. Puerh tea is a post fermented tea. This means that there is an active bacteriological fungal fermentation happening inside the leaves. Puerh tea is literally alive. It can mature over the years.

The wedding tea sets that we sell come with a tea that can be aged alongside a marriage. We chose the Xiaguan Tea Factory. Xiaguan has a long history with puerh tea. They have been around for more than 100 years. They are known for creating blends intended to be aged long term. We are including two full sized cakes of puerh. One is a 2014 Xiaguan T8653 sheng puerh pressed this year. The other is a Xiaguan T8663 shou puerh that is an excellent daily drinker. One cake for aging, one cake for drinking.

The wedding sets themselves are beautiful. They include all the same components as our standard starter sets, but the individual pieces are of a higher quality. They include a larger tea table and your choice between two gorgeous sets of complete porcelain teawares; one features a lotus theme and the other blue peonies. A Yixing clay teapot for brewing shou puerh is also included. Each set is unique. We brought back a collection of fine Yixing teapots that we are only selling with these sets. There are no duplicates. We will work with each customer to find the right teapot.

This is our simple wish: A long, happy marriage filled with delicious tea! The Xiaguan T8653 sheng puerh comes in a 357g cake. Xiaguan calls this an ‘iron cake’. The loose tea leaves have been tightly compressed into the cake allowing them a chance to age well. Once a year on their anniversary the married couple can take 5grams of this tea and brew it together. They can reflect on the past year of their life together and compare the flavor and aromas of this tea with their past memories. With a 357g cake this is a tradition that can last more than 70 years. We wish for many happy marriages with the longevity of puerh.

These wedding gongfu tea sets are available here.

All images © Crimson Lotus Tea 2014