France has its Champagne; Mexico Tequila; and Italy Parma — these places have turned trade names known for their high-quality, unique foods. Now, if China has its way, there could be another: Pu erh.
This lush corner of Yunnan province in China’s south is home to one of the world’s hottest teas. Pu erh tea it is typically sold in heaps resembling cow patties — but one mug of these aged leaves can fetch up to $1,000. The drink is praised for its health benefits and is loved for its earthy, light taste. It is already a hit in Hong Kong, where rare teas are a status symbol among the city’s privileged, and it is creating hype outside China, too.