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The anthropological masterpiece by Jinghong Zhang, in the English speaking world this book is basically the beginning middle and end of texts to summarize and educate on what puer tea is, its culture and history of production and consumption, and what makes it so compelling and beguiling for its many audiences of appreciators in Yunnan, across China, and around the world.
What makes it such a fun but also detailed and informative read is the unique approach to its production and distribution. It is an academic exercise, but also a personal and poignantly philosophical perspective. It is rigorous and disciplined, but also of an insider's eye view to its subject. Published as part of the University of Washington Press' 'Culture, Place, and Nature - Studies in Anthropology & Environment' series, and partially emerging out of postdoctoral anthropology work with the Australian National University, it makes the best use of the breadth of inputs allowable in contemporary anthropology to produce a work of scholarship that describes a moment in time while wrapping up a long history and offering valuable information that will itself stand the test of time for future enquirers.
If you've had the experience of having your mind blown by a cup of puer tea, or heard certain swirling legends that seem to accompany it everywhere it goes, you will have been twigged to the fact that there's something unique and complex about this tea and the human and natural world it emerges from. And you're going to want answers, urgently. And you're going to struggle to find good or deep enough answers, and sooner or later you are going to come to this book.
This is where it is. If that's what you're looking for, don't hesitate. The journey is the reward, and this book will sure as hell take you there.