The man behind the Old Comrade tea is the ex-manager of the Puerh Menghai factory, Zu Ping Liang. Since graduation in 1957 and at the tender age of 20, Zu began his life-long career in Menghai factory engaging in the business of making puerh tea. From a humble beginning as a technical personnel, he went through a series of upgrading and promotion. In 1984, he was promoted to the rank of factory manager, and involved himself in the production and marketing of puerh tea. Under his guidance, the Menghai produced some of the finest puerh tea we know today. Apart from indulging himself in the making of fine puerh tea, he also helped in the promotion of puerh tea to South Ease Asia and the rest of the world.
When he retired in 1997, with his vast knowledge and experience in the making of puerh tea, he set up his own factory (Haiwan) in Anlin to continue his pursuit in the making of puerh tea. He adopted the brand Old Comrade to show his appreciation for his fellow countrymen. He started producing puerh tea in various forms, puerh 7-a-piece cakes, bricks,etc. With an increasing awareness of the benefits of puerh tea, there is an increasing demand for his tea products in various parts of the world. Because of his live-long exposure in the Menghai factory and the vast experience he had acquired in tea making, his tea products are well received by consumers all over the world.
It is interesting to note that he placed a bamboo sheet in the middle of his tea to authenticate the quality of his products. In this bamboo sheet, words like "ex-manager of Menghai factory, Zu Pingliang" were printed on it. This becomes the hall-mark of his products.
Another thing to note is that his earlier tea bricks were wrapped in a simple brown paper with the words "Old Comrade Tea Bricks" written on the paper. He used blank paper to wrap the tea as he needed to introduced the tea to the market early before he had even thought of designing his own logo and tea labels. This is the reason why some tea magazine has classified these tea bricks as the First-Batch puerh tea bricks (as seen in the picture below).
|The so-called First-Batch puerh tea bricks|
Subsequently he designed the wrapper for his earlier production of the tea bricks. This tea is also currently very sought after by tea collectors.
|Early production of tea brick|
|The bamboo hall-mark of Old Comrade tea bricks|
As his oldest tea productions are well received by tea collectors, inevitably there are fakes in the market. So be careful when you are buying the Comrade brand of puerh tea. I personnaly like his earlier batches of tea bricks that rolled out from his factory in the early days of production. The aroma and fragrance of the puerh are uniquely good and vintage. If you can't afford the 1970s (example, the so-called 73 thick brick) type of bricks, these early tea batches are a very good substitutes. Don't forget, the 1970s tea bricks were also produced under his supervision. This old man seemed to know the secrets of puerh tea making.
|My personal collection of Old Comrade First-Batch bricks|