Although Pu-erh tea comes in many forms such as loose tea, brick tea, Tuo cha, and bamboo tea. But now when it comes to Pu-erh tea, the first thing many people think of is the round tea cake. Indeed, round tea is already synonymous with Pu-erh tea. This Pu-erh round tea is what is now called "seven son cake".

Regarding the "seven son cake", many people think that it is inheriting the legacy of Tang and Song cakes. It is also said that the tea is made into round cakes for the sake of eloquence, which implies the reunion of the tea drinkers. In fact, the "Seven Son Cake" did not appear for a long time. In general, it was in the early Qing Dynasty and before and after the establishment of Pu-erh Prefecture.

As for why the tea cake should be rounded, it is simple to say, it is convenient to draw a picture.

The establishment of Pu-erh Prefecture is the reason why Qizi cake tea was born. In the 7th year of Yongzheng (1729 AD), the Qing government reformed Xishuangbanna and established Pu-erh Prefecture. Xishuangbanna was the largest tea producing area in Yunnan at that time. In order to monopolize the "big money", the Qing government set up a general tea shop in Simao, operated by the official monopoly tea. This is the beginning of the monopoly of Yunnan tea officially controlled by the central court in Chinese history.

Now that we want to monopolize operations, there must be some measures to change the course. The people often say that the new officials still need three fires to take office, not to mention the stately court. In the thirteenth year of Yongzheng (1735 AD), the Qing Central Government officially promulgated the Yunnan Tea Law. The Tea Law stipulates that the purchase and sale of Yunnan tea must hold a "tea lead". Those who do not have "tea-introduction" shall be punished with the crime of smuggling.

The practical system of "introduction" has been used in salt for a long time. It should be said that tea and salt are monopoly products of the central government. Since it is a monopoly of the imperial court, it is necessary to set rules, not just casual things.

The court approved that Yunnan would issue 3,000 "tea-introductions" every year, and each one-hundred kilograms of tea was purchased. The Yunnan Tea Law also specifically stipulates that the tea to be traded must be in the shape of a pie. Each round cake weighs about seven or two, seven round cakes are in a tube, each tube weighs forty-two. One tax credit per cylinder, one thirty-two cylinder for each tea guide, and two cents for tax silver.

Because every seven cakes are a tube, they will be called "seven son cakes" in later generations.

The promulgation of the Yunnan Tea Law set the legal requirements for the appearance, weight and packaging specifications of tea in Yunnan tea market. On the one hand, it makes Yunnan tea exported from other places have a uniform shape. It should be said that the appearance of Pu-erh round tea is a new era of Pu-erh tea in Yunnan.

During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, all countries had currencies. Knife coins, cloth coins, and round money are varied. Even the "catches" in different countries are not the same. The transaction cost is too high when trading with each other. Therefore, one of Qin Shihuang's important achievements is the uniform measurement. The previous Yunnan Pu-erh tea was like the currency of the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. The appearance of Pu-erh round tea has made Pu-erh tea a unified system. Therefore, it is much more convenient in processing, acquisition, tax collection, transportation and other links.

There are laws to follow and rules to follow. All aspects of Pu-erh tea processing, sales and taxation have become orderly and transparent. The emergence of Pu-erh round cakes also laid the foundation for the large-scale processing and production of Yunnan Pu-erh tea out of Yunnan.

It should be said that round tea (Qizi cake) represents one of the core spirits of Pu-erh tea.

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Author's Bio: 

Salesman of Naturalpuerh company who loves tea for life!