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16/07: Kunming Tea Factory

Kunming Tea Factory is, without any doubt, one of the oldest tea factories in the world.

It is famous for its flag ship product: 7581 Ripe Pu-erh Tea brick, the very first ripe Pu-erh tea. Before this century, it was the only game in town for a ripe Pu-erh tea.

Let's go for a little tour to Kunming Tea Factory.

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Before the Reds took over China, Fuxing Tea Factory established its operation in 1939, the main product was Fuxing tuocha by using raw materials from Mengku and Fengqing. On its bumpy road, the factory had undergone closing, merging, and re-naming etc. a few times. Kunming Tea Factory was actually resumed its operation in 1960 at the same location, but with few products. The first batch of the products by the factory was made in 1965, in the form of bricks, square bricks for Tibet people.

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In 1973, during Culture Revolution, a 7 person team sent to Guangzhou Tea Factory to learn how to make a ripe tea for the markets.

Meanwhile, Mr. P.R.Chen had done his own experiments in house. The end product was the first ripe Pu-erh tea ever made, over 1000 kilograms were exported.

Now the team returned, thus they started a new set of experiments by using warm water for fermentation they learnt in Guangzhou, but failed. After a number of rounds, they succeed with cold water, and a total of 10.2 tons were produced and exported to Hongkong.

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These people became the experts and sent over to other tea factories to supervise the production of ripe Pu-erh tea.

In 1992, The issues in cost and supply halted the production of Kunming Tea Factory after late Deng's economic reform, it literally went broke - remembering how cheap a Pu-erh tea cake was then?

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Legend would never die, so is famous Kunming Tea Factory. Restructured and funded by government under COFCO the factory re-opened its door in 2006, just in time for 2007 Pu-erh tea boom.

It was not till 2014, Kunming Tea Factory became a combat boy, re-taking its leading position.

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