BEIJING, June 23 -- One ton of Pu'er tea will be loaded onto an 18th Century merchant ship called the "Gotheborg" in July when the vessel arrives in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, during its cruise around the world.
Huang Jun, director of the Culture Industry Office of Yunnan Province, said his office will provide the tea "to review the trade partnership between China and European countries in ancient time, and to promote Chinese tea culture as well."
Yunnan Province is the birthplace of Chinese Pu'er Tea, which was first shipped to European countries from the port city of Guangzhou more than 200 years ago.
Historical sources said that 260 years ago there were about 700 tons of cargo, including 366 tons of Pu'er Tea, which sunk with the original Gotheborg ship 900 metres away from her home harbour of Gothenburg of Sweden.
Nearly all the cargo was destroyed except for some silks and tea. In 1984, Swedish archaeologists discovered some 30 tons of preserved canned tea.
"This (voyage) demonstrates the historical and cultural relationships between China and Western countries," Huang said.
The replica of the Gotheborg began her maiden voyage last October. It is following the sea route of the original and is expected to arrive in Guangzhou, also the starting point of the ancient "Marine Silk Road," on July 18.
Tea became a main export from China to Europe in the late 17th Century, and Swedish businessmen introduced Pu'er Tea to European countries via the Gotheborg in the early 18th Century.
Today, Pu'er is still popular in Western countries. Sources with the Guangdong Customs said that a total of 4,103 tons of Pu'er Tea were shipped overseas through Guangdong ports last year.
(Source: China Daily)