Puer Tea - author Jinghong Zhang in conversation with Andrew Walker

Zhang Jinghong

Join author Jinghong Zhang with Professor Andrew Walker in a conversation on the recent Puer tea fad in China.

From cottage creation to international industry, follow the rise, climax and crash of the Puer tea phenomenon.

Puer tea has been grown for centuries in the “Six Great Tea Mountains” of Yunnan Province in southwest China. In imperial China it was a prized commodity, traded from Tibet by horse or mule caravan via the so-called Tea Horse Road and presented as tribute to the Emperor in Beijing. In the 1990s, as its noble lineage and unique process of aging and fermentation were rediscovered, Puer tea achieved cult status both in China and internationally. It became a favourite among urban connoisseurs who analysed it in language comparable to that used for wine appreciation—and paid skyrocketing prices for it. In 2007, however, local events and the international economic crisis caused the Puer market to collapse.

Puer Tea traces the rise, climax, and crash of this phenomenon. With ethnographic attention to the spaces in which Puer tea is harvested, processed, traded and consumed, anthropologist Jinghong Zhang constructs a vivid account of the transformation of a cottage handicraft into a major industry—with predictable risks and unexpected consequences. A set of short documentary films, also accessible online, accompany the book to illustrate the landscape of Puer tea processing and people’s sensory experiences in tea tasting.

“This is an engrossing study of the Puer tea industry and the many cultural spheres that surround it… Never has the anatomy of tea been dissected in such a wide ranging, thorough, and engaging way.”—Steven D. Owyoung, co-translator of Korean Tea Classics

About the Speakers

Jinghong Zhang is a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University.

Professor Andrew Walker is Acting Dean at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University.

RSVP: By 26th of February, either by phoning 6251 5191 or Email

Admission by gold coin donation to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

This is an event not to be missed, but, if you can't join us on the 26th of February and would like to buy a signed copy, let us know as it can easily be arranged.


Jinghong Zhang and Professor Andrew Walker

Dates & times

Thursday, 27 February 2014

6.00pm - 7.00pm


Asia Bookroom, 2/1-3 Lawry Pl, Macquarie ACT

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