Pu-erh tea

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(Redirected from Pu-erh)

Pu-erh or Puer tea (Template:Zh-cp) is a fermented tea, named after Pu'er county in Yunnan, China. It is an unusual tea, because unlike other teas which are consumed shortly after production, it can be over 50 years old and is usually aged at least 1-4 years. Over this time it acquires an earthy flavour due to fermentation which in some cases may result in a layer of mold that develops on the leaves.

In Cantonese culture, pu-erh is known as po-lay or bo-lay tea, and is often drunk during dim sum meals with family and friends, as it is believed to help with digestion. Pu-erh is considered a medicinal tea in China.

The Pu-erh tea has been subject to a number of health studies. A number of medical studies have substantiated claims that the tea helps reduce cholesterol levels and saturated fats in human; it could assist in weight loss.

Contents

History

Unlike other varieties of tea, Pu-Erh Tea is traditionally made with older leaves (not the first flush or budding leaves) from tall and old trees. These trees are of a type only found in Yunnan Province, known as broad leaf tea. The leaves are covered with fine hairs, are larger than other tea leaves, and have a different chemical composition. The leaves are then left green or moderately fermented before being dried. Often times the tea is then formed into cakes or bricks, wrapped in paper or pomello rinds, and stored outside exposed to moisture, air, and heat for order to further mature. Then the tea is stored underground for several years before taking on the darker, mellower characteristics that make Pu'erh tea. This type of tea originated from the natural aging process that happened along the ancient caravan routes, and the tea bricks were at times used as a form of currency. The tea bricks developed a unique flavor that was then refined by aficionados. One of the most expensive and rare Pu'erh teas is made from the droppings of worms that eat stored Pu'erh bricks.

Varieties

Many have mistakenly categorised Pu-Erh as a sub class of Black tea. In fact, it is impossible to process Pu-Erh from black tea. There are 2 major categories of processed Pu-Erh

  • Green (青饼 qīng bǐng)
  • Mutual/Oolong (熟饼 sh bǐng)

Preparation

Pu-erh, as with other Chinese black teas, and especially Yunnan teas, is generally expected to be served Gong-Fu style, generally in Yixing teaware. The tea is often steeped for long periods of time and can acquire a dark brown/black color, as dark as strong coffee. Because of the prolonged fermentation and oxidization pu-erh often fails to develop the bitter, astringent properties of other teas, and can be brewed much stronger and for hours.

External links

de:Pu-Erh-Tee ja:プーアル茶 zh:普洱茶

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