Glimpses of Tea History

Early Days of Tibetan Brick Tea

Courtsey: ALL ABOUT TEA by William H. Ukers

At the same time that an export trade was starting along the Mongolian border, Szechwan and Yunnan Provinces in South-western China were promoting a tea trade with Tibet that developed along its own peculiar lines.

A rough tea was made into bricks and bales, which were carried by coolies, mules, and yaks over incredibly difficult paths into Tibet. An extensive trade in this crude product, was soon established and has continued unchanged down to the present.

Two great market towns, Ta-chien-lu and Sungpan, on the rugged western border of the province of Szechwan, mark the centers where these Tibetan teas arrive and are dispatched into Tibet. Teas for the two markets are produced in entirely separate districts and differ widely in character.