Pu-erh is a type of fermented tea that originated in Pu’er county in Yunnan, China. But don’t be fooled – Pu-erh is no ordinary tea!
You see, most teas are consumed by teas drinkers soon after they are produced. But not Pu-erh. Pu-erh is typically aged at least one to four years before it is ready to drink. In some cases, Pu-erh can be aged for fifty or more years before consumption!
“Why age a tea so long?” you may be asking. Well, over the time that the tea is aged, it ferments and develops an earthy taste that can be quite delicious to the tea drinker. Unlike other types of tea, Pu-erh does not lose its taste and good qualities over time.
Pu-erh has a strong, clean flavor with sweet undertones. It is often compared to the smell of fall leaves in a colorful pile. Tea drinkers enjoy a soothing cup of Pu-erh tea with breakfast foods such as biscotti, breads, fruits and pancakes. However, it can compliment just about any type of meal.
The Chinese consider Pu-erh a medicinal tea that aids the body in the act of digestion. Countless medical studies have been done on Pu-erh tea, and scientists agree that it may help to reduce cholesterol levels and saturated fats in the body. It may also help people to lose weight. Pu-erh tea contains no calories, fat, or carbohydrates. It is a natural source of vitamins and mineral nutrients that aid with growth as well as a sense of well being. It helps to protect the body’s cells as well as the immune system.
Pu-erh tea is sold in loose leaves as well as in hard brick-like masses of compacted tea. Pu-erh is usually made with old leaves, certainly not first flush leaves. The trees from which Pu-erh come from are a type found only in the Yunnan Province. Yunnan is often thought of as the birthplace of tea cultivation. These trees are referred to as having broad leaves that are covered with fine hairs. The leaves are typically larger than other tree leaves, and are made up of different chemical compounds.
During the processing of Pu-erh tea, the leaves are kept green and fermented before they are dried. The leaves are then formed into brick-like masses and are wrapped in paper. They are stored outside in humidity, air, and heat so that they have a chance to mature. After a while, the tea is then placed in an underground area for a few years. During this time, it becomes darker and richer.
When you make Pu-erh tea, you can usually brew it a lot longer and stronger than other teas. This is due to the fact that Pu-erh has a long fermentation and oxidation period when it is being processed. So if your customers are desiring a rich, healthy tea that has an ages-old taste, Pu-erh is probably for them. Pu-erh can bring a little bit of extraordinary to an otherwise ordinary meal!