Drinking 20 Years of Pu’er Prayers: My Experience with Tibetan Buddhist Tea Culture

July 20, 2017

Drinking 20 Years of Pu’er Prayers: My Experience with Tibetan Buddhist Tea Culture

Every single spiritual culture I studied with in China believed in the unseen powers of tea. All of them. They all had rituals of infusing energy into the tea, whether it was through prayer or ceremony. When I was I was living in Yunnan Province, I was exposed to Tibetan Buddhist Culture, and even ended up studying some Tibetan Buddhist tea culture and was amazed at what I had learned.

Below is an excerpt from The Wild Tea Hunter – my book about my adventures hunting tea in China. In it, I share my tea experiences amongst the Tibetan Buddhists. 


“There are some Buddhist temples in China and Tibet where they will put the tea on an alter and pray everyday. One of my good friends, Lao You, from China, lived in Tibet for several years as a monk. He was deeply into the Tibetan Buddhist culture and spirituality.

After living among the monks he brought back one of these teas that had been on the alter. It was a raw Puer tea that had been on an alter in a Buddhist monastery for over 20 years! It was a very low quality Puer, but the Buddhists believed that this Puer was now very special, as it had been prayed upon for so long.

It was not appealing to the eye. Most people would pass this tea off as a bad tea and not even bother to drink it never mind pay any attention to it.

But, when my friend Lao You brewed this tea it was like no other I had ever had. Similar to the consistency of the wild black tea that Master Yu had brewed for me in Wuyi Mountain, this tea was thick and almost sticky. It had a very aged taste. When it first hit your tongue you could taste that it was very old tea, but after that initial taste left it opened into a deep complex flavor that changed from earthy to slightly nutty and autumn like tastes.

The leaves were dark brown from naturally fermenting over the years. This had even a more full consistency than the wild black. When I first tried it I actually didn’t like it. Other friends of ours were almost repulsed by it. Lao You loved it and paid no mind to anyone’s opinions of it. After several cups I grew more and more fond of it. After a few days I felt I had to drink it everyday. The way it made me feel was amazing. I felt very happy and light when I drank it. It was interesting because some people either didn’t like it at all and others were totally into it like me.”

For more tea anecdotes like this, head over to Amazon to grab a copy of The Wild Tea Hunter.

Until next time,


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