Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's my puer cake trying to tell me?

Puer tea (普洱茶) often has lots of information printed in Chinese on its packaging. Many tea lovers can read Chinese, so this information is already right at their fingertips. I, on the other hand, cannot read Chinese. For the last 7 years, I have been a beginner-to-elementary level Mandarin student. Because of this, I am often curious about the Chinese text printed on my puer cakes and bricks.

I'm already pretty good at recognizing some of the more common words found on puer tea wrappers, such as: 雲南 (Yunnan), 生 (sheng), 熟 (shu), 野 (ye), 七子餅茶 (qizi bingcha) and 喬木 (qiaomu) and with the aid of babelcarp and puer.net, I'm also learning the characters for many puer factory names and specific growing regions.

One thing that has always intrigued me is the list printed on the back of so many mass-produced, factory cakes and bricks from the last decade.

The List

For years I've wondered if any of this information was relevant to me as a puer tea lover. One day, the curiosity became too intense, and so, with the help of my friend Dr. L. Chang, I translated it.

Here's what we came up with:

產品名称 - chǎn pǐn míng chēng - Product Name

產品原料 - chǎn pǐn yuánliào - Product Material

企业代碼 - qǐyè dàimǎ - Company Code

衛生許可證號 - wèishēng xǔkězhèng hào - Health Inspection Approval Number

生產許可證號 - shēngchǎn xǔkězhèng hào - Product Inspection Approval Number

產品執行標準 - chǎnpǐn zhíxíng biāozhǔn - Product Standardization Protocol

淨含量 - jìnghánliàng - Net Weight

生產日期 - shēngchǎn rìqī - date of manufacture

儲存條件 - chǔcún tiáojiàn - Storage Conditions
在符合儲存條件下適宜長期保存 = airy, cool, free of bad smells, no pollution

保質期 - bǎozhìqī - Shelf Life / Best By Date
在符合儲存條件下適宜長期保存 = Suitable for long term storage.

出品 - chūpǐn - Producer

地址 - dìzhǐ - Address

生產 - shēngchǎn - Production Location

地址 - dìzhǐ - Address

I've compared this list to many of the cakes and bricks in my puer collection and found it to be the same (or at least very similar) among all the ones with the list.

In the end, I've concluded that this list turns out to not be very important for me. It's all very interesting and great to see the production date, but most of the other information appears to target puer industry people. The front label usually contains more of the the information I'm excited to know about my puer tea.


Steph said...

Very helpful, thank you!

Em said...

I do read Chinese, but not very well, and so when I need to identify a character I use a website called nciku.com. You can draw the character in a box using your mouse and, provided you've drawn it as it appears, identifies and translates the character.

You already did your translations so maybe you won't find it useful! But I often use it to identify teas and read about them, so I like to have it in my tasting arsenal.

Mondeduthe said...

Thousand thanks!!!
At least I have a clue about the meaning of it :-)
Yet it seems it is not standardised (checked on other tea), so the order and information are not same :-(
I definitely also need a chinese friend for help on translation ;-)