What is Pu-erh Tea?
So you think you are a tea lover huh? You go to all the tea shops around the area, you sit down every Saturday for Afternoon Tea, you know all the famous brands, and you were very happy when Teavana got shutdown because they weren’t selling actual TEA. It sure sounds like you love tea, but let me ask you a question… Have you ever heard of Pu-erh tea? Do you know how to pronounce it? If you have never heard of this type of tea before, don’t feel bad, most people haven’t.
Pu-erh tea is pronounced “POO-air” and is only grown in China’s Yunnan Province and named for the city in southern Yunnan, “Pu’er”. Depending on the environment, conditions, processing style, and age, the flavor of Pu-erh can be smooth, grassy, musky, herbal, fruity and earthy.
Pu-erh Origin Story
Dating back to the Han Dynasty (25-220 CE) when tea was used to barter in the markets and was a sought after commodity, traders were looking for an easier way to transport the tea over their long journey without it losing too much flavor or taking up too much space. Due to popular demand, this put tea suppliers in a race to come up with new ways to preserve the tea. Finally, Pu-erh was born. By using fermentation, it not only kept the leaves fresh, the tea actually became better with age (like wine).
Types of Pu-erh
Pu-erh tea comes in two forms:
- Green or “Sheng”
- Black or “Shou”
Sheng Pu-erh is the highest quality and is divided into two categories “Young and Aged”. The categories refer to the time the tea has been aged. This was the original method used to make Pu-erh tea, the longer it aged, the better the tea became. This was also the reason the Shou method came to be. Since Pu-erh was such a prized commodity, the supply was running out due to the amount of time it took to make Sheng Pu-erh. Supply couldn’t keep up with demand.
Shou Pu-erh also known as “Black”, or “Cooked” Pu-erh, goes through one extra process, called “cooking”. This cooking process speeds up the aging which allowed suppliers to deliver Pu-erh tea within around 60 days. If you live in the western world and drink Pu-erh, you are probably drinking Shou Pu-erh.
What Makes Pu-erh Special?
Not only is Pu-erh like a fine wine when it comes to teas, and is processed unlike no other, it also has extraordinary health benefits to boot! Pu-erh tea has been known to promote weight loss, reduce cholesterol, cleanse the blood, aid digestion, reduce stress AND prevent illness, holy cure for cancer Batman! This tea will make you immortal!
The way the tea is processed, it’s aging time, how difficult it is to come by and the history of this tea makes all tea lovers go bonkers for it.
Due to high demand for this tea, and consumers lack of true knowledge, you might want to be certain that you are buying the real stuff. Who can you trust? Since most vendors aren’t able to purchase directly from the source, they are typically bought from other sellers or “middlemen” and there is great opportunity for someone to lie about what they offer. There is a real problem in the industry right now, and you want to make sure that your $200 “Pu-erh” cake is as advertised. Do your research and make sure that you get what you pay for.
Hope you enjoyed the read, and if you have questions, or have something to add, please leave a comment down below. As for me, I really enjoy our Decadent Pu-erh Tea and unfortunately, for now, it’s our only Pu-erh we offer.
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