Cha Gao Pu-erh Tea
Cha Gao - Instant Pu-erh Tea 茶膏 : This specialty of Yunnan province uses a technique to extract the liquid from the tea leaves and then solidifies the liquid into shapes which can easily be dissolved in water to make tea. 'Cha Gao' literally means 'tea paste', and this technique evolved from a process developed in the Tang 唐 and Song 宋 dynasties, while the process of making Pu-erh Cha Gao in particular was enhanced and perfected during the Qing 清 dynasty, which was considered to be the pinnacle of 'cha gao' quality. Unfortunately, imperial techniques employed during the Qing dynasty were lost with the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, and attempts to revive the industry in subsequent decades fell short and the practice of making tea-paste practically vanished. Now, with modern technology it is possible to produce tea-paste that is of similar quality to that which was produced during the Qing dynasty. One of the benefits of 'cha gao' is that it concentrates the chemicals found in Pu-erh tea to a very condensed and potent form. It was for this reason that it was widely considered a form of medicine during the Qing dynasty, with the 'ability to cure 100 ailments', especially concerning the gastrointestinal tract. When preparing, use one unit per 500 ml of water and pour the water over the unit little by little to allow it time to completely dissolve; some cha gao also require that they be placed into water that has already been poured.