Yunnan Tea – Puerh Tea
Pu er, puer or pu erh tea has long been known as a healthy tea. Puerh tea can be divided into 2 categories, the raw (sheng) or green pu erh and ripened (shou) or cooked black pu erh.
Puer tea leaves are harvested from the large leaf tea shrubs in southern Yunnan in China.
The green tea leaves are then dried under the sun. Then the wilted leaves are fried in a large wok to stop further enzymatic oxidation.
The dried tea leaves are rolled and shaped into strands for further drying under the sun. The resulting dried leaves are called maocha.
Only the best maocha leaves are selected to be processed into pu erh tea.
Raw Puerh Tea
Raw pu erh is just a type of compressed maocha with no further processing. It is stored and aged before consuming.
The longer it is aged, the more complex are its flavors and aromas.
Raw pu erh leaves unfurl when brewed.
Ripe (Cooked) Puerh Tea
Ripe or cooked pu erh, on the other hand, needs a warm and humid environment for further bacterial and fungal fermentation.
The final fermentation, which can last up to a year, will determine the quality of this ripened compressed pu erh tea.
Aged loose leaf pu erh
Aged loose leaf pu erh is actually maocha which is aged without compressing.
Tea cakes or tea bricks are common compressed tea shapes although you have such exotic shapes as the gold melon or mushroom.
You just chipped off a little bit to be brewed and store the rest of the brick for later use.
The longer the puerh is kept, the better the taste and the more valuable it becomes.
Pu Erh Tea Benefits
The pu erh tea has slightly warming properties, with a sweet and mellow taste.
According to the traditional Chinese medicine, pu erh tea benefits our bodies in numerous ways.
- lower blood cholesterol
- reduce fat
- aid digestion
- detoxify the body
- inhibits dampness and warm the stomach
- inhibit growth of bacteria
- reduce the effects of alcohol
- improve mental alertness
- fight free radicals and improve blood circulation
Best Pu erh Tea – Features
Green tea leaves harvested in spring produced the best flavors.
Aging the tea also improves the flavor. In fact, puerh tea is the only tea that improves with aging.
When buying puerh tea, check to make sure that there are no twigs or molds on the compressed leaves. The tea leaf should appeared whole and dried but definitely not powdery.
The tea cake should have a fragrant smell. The tea liquor should be a dark reddish color.
The best puer tea leaves are those harvested from the wild, old tea trees. These have a camphor flavor, most probably due to the presence of camphor trees growing amongst these old tea trees in Yunnan.
Chrysanthemum pu erh tea is a popular scented tea in Chinese restaurants.
Pu erh Tea Caffeine
Caffeine in puerh tea is much less compared to other teas.
Best stored in a cool dry place away from strong odor and moisture. It is not necessary to store in air-tight containers.
Brewing pu erh tea in a Yixing zisha (purple clay) teapot brings out the best flavor of the tea.
Pu erh tea is also well known as weight loss tea, health tea, slimming tea, diet tea or beauty tea.
The Chinese love to drink pu erh tea after a heavy meal as it helps to break down fats and aids digestion.