In some remote villages of Yunnan Province, Pu-Erh Beeng cha, the 7-layered teacake, holds a special place in local legend. In fact, it is apparently from one such village story that the fabled tea get’s its colloquial name, Qizi, or 7 Sons. The ancient tale tells of the wife of a government official whose job it was to oversee the town’s faltering tea industry. Over the years the couple had been blessed with 6 male offspring. They wanted to have a seventh child and hoped for a boy believing that the magic of such good fortune might help turn around the local economy.
One night in a dream, a dragon appeared to the government official and told him that if he wanted to ensure a seventh son and save the town, he should prepare a cake made with 7 layers of the local Pu-Erh. The dragon insisted that if he and his wife spoke their wish into the steam of first pot as the tea steeped, their wish would come true by the time they had finished brewing the entire cake. The next morning, the official went to the local factory and instructed the production manager to create the 7-layered Pu-Erh cake. Once the cake was ready, he and his wife sat down to a pot of tea, following the dragon’s instructions as they did so. Over the next week, the two finished brewing the cake of tea and sure enough, 3 weeks later, the wife became pregnant. 8 months after that, so the story goes, the couple announced the birth of a seventh son! The entire village rejoiced at the news! And as for the local economy? Well, the new 7-layered cake proved to be a hit. Sales began shooting skyward and the village grew prosperous. And if you can find this village, which shall here remain nameless, you’ll see that it still is to this day!
So what makes Pu-Erh Beeng Cha so special? Well, besides its wish granting qualities, once the tea is compressed, it is aged two years. This process gives the tea a wonderfully earthy, or elemental profile with underlying musty notes. As well, the leaves of the tea, once broken off the cake can be brewed a number of times – with each brewing, the flavor of the cup shifts and changes in incredibly subtle ways. So go ahead, brew yourself a pot, make a wish, and see how this one affects your sales totals!