I suddenly remembered the existence of the greatest commercial ever made and wanted to make 100% sure that you have also all seen it.
It is truly life changing.
These are ancient tea bricks—much like modern-day pu’erh—but pressed using powdered tea leaves instead. These bricks were used as currency for hundreds of years in and around China. When tea or food was in desprete need they could be used as sustanince, or when trading needed to be done, they proved universal tender.
However, this system created market instability, and prior to their banishment in the early Ming Dynasty, the market collapsed due to an influx of extreamly low quality brick. The first Ming Emperor, Hongwu, outlawed the making and use of these tea bricks, restoring the economy. Despite this, the tradition continued to evolve into modern day sheng and shou pu’erh, instead using whole leaf tea and aging for many years.
Jan Brueghel, The Voyage of St. Ursula to Cologne (1420)