The advertising jargon printed on Jia Duo Bao Herbal Tea’s six-pack plastic wrapping reads, “Keep Heatiness Away, Drink Jia Duo Bao.”
My last T Ching post briefly mentioned internal heat. Is heatiness the more accurate translation? Heat, though ambiguous, seems the most preferred term. Hard to believe that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nomenclature in English has not been fully standardized.
A canned beverage, Jia Duo Bao was re-branded in 2012 from Wong Lo Kat, the popular Chinese tisane blended by farmer-turned-TCM practitioner Chat Bong Wong (1813 — 1883). Mr. Wong’s venture prospered as his concoction delighted emperors and was said to have restored the health of Zexu Lin (1785 – 1850) – a most prominent figure in the obliteration of the opium trade. In addition to teashop operations, Mr. Wong’s oldest son mass-distributed the drink in paper bags. (Perhaps a tea museum in China has this 19th century packaging artifact in its collection?) In later years the enterprise experienced change of dynasties, a world war, political turmoil, nationalization then privatization, overseas expansion, maybe mergers and acquisitions too. The trade secret recipe, as stated by Mr. Wong’s fifth-generation descendant, Ms. Jian Yi Wong, in this commercial, is now under the guardianship of JDB Beverage Co., Ltd.
Jia Duo Bao Herbal Tea’s notable ingredients include Chinese licorice, mesona, Japanese honeysuckle, heal all, white frangipani, and chrysanthemum, with mesona and Chinese licorice producing the dominant flavors. This refreshing drink reminds me of grass jelly and a TCM dessert named guilinggao. Anyone who has savored one of the three will know how the other two taste. Mr. Wong is deemed the father of Chinese tisane as his ingenuity and perseverance created a brew tested by time, favored by generations.
Prior to researching for this post, I had not heard of Jia Duo Bao Herbal Tea, not sure what the reasons were. I thought it would take me some time to find JDB products at the neighborhood Asian supermarket. Surprisingly, boxes of Jia Duo Bao Herbal Tea were piled high facing the store entrance, impossible for me to miss.