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QUESTION ABOUT PU-ERH....
What is pu-erh tea, exactly?
Unlike other teas, which are ready (and best) to consume straight after production, the best pu-erh is aged for years before it is used.
Pu-erh tea is fermented. It may or may not be oxidized, depending on the type of pu-erh (see below).
Pu-erh is sold in loose leaf or compressed form. It is compressed into many different shapes, from traditional round cakes to mushrooms, pyramids, coins and other shapes.
In China, pu-erh tea is known as black tea; what we know as black tea is called red tea in China.
Where is pu-erh tea grown?
Pu-erh gets its name from Pu’er county in southern Yunnan Province, China. From this region, pu-erh is made from extra large leaves plucked from long-lived tea bushes, which are plentiful in Yunnan Province. Though due to the market’s interest increase starting in early 2000, other regions have taken to pu-erh processing, as the demand and understanding of Health and Wellness increases globally.
What are the main types of pu-erh tea?
There are two main types of pu-erh:
Sheng pu-erh is not oxidized (it is also known as “raw” or “green” pu-erh). Sheng pu-erh is traditional pu-erh, made to age for years before consumption. Mao Cha is the young sheng pu-erh, which requires proper storage and aging. This is cheaper than naturally aged sheng pu-erh, which can be consumed immediately or allowed to age even longer.
Shou pu-erh, on the other hand, is made to be enjoyed immediately. Invented by enterprising tea artisans in the 1970s who needed a way to satisfy growing demands for ready-to-drink pu-erh, shou pu-erh is oxidized (thus, it is also known as “black” or “cooked” pu-erh) to accelerate the aging process. Shou pu-erh is generally not as complex as sheng pu-erh, but it is much more affordable and can be drink within two or three years.
What’s the best way to brew pu-erh tea?
Pu-erh is best brewed in full rolling boil water around the 93°-100°C (200°-212°F). The same leaves can be infused many times, with each infusion revealing something different. You can steep pu-erh between 2 and 5 minutes, though I’ve seen suggestions around the internet that pu-erh can have a much shorter infusion time. As with any tea, experiment.
What are the health benefits of drinking pu-erh tea?
Scientific studies into the health benefits of pu-erh tea suggest that pu-erh tea can effect arterial build-up and so reduces cholesterol and eases blood flow. Pu-erh also contains properties that reduce swelling and inflammation, providing relief to discomforts resulting from arthritic conditions. Studies include the presence of anti-carcinogenic properties and anti-bacterial’s that effect strains such as Staphylococcus aureus (also known as golden staph).
Does pu-erh tea contain caffeine?
As with every other tea made from Camellia sinensis, there are variations on caffeine levels. Pu-erh tea contains some caffeine to highly caffeinated, tea gatherings offer a great way to learn about the many varietals. Since moderate amounts of caffeine support blood flow and cardio-pulmonary, one can begin to glimse an age-old perspective in medicine; “Nature has a way of alchemy that balances and uses the “dynamic tension” of nutrients, anti-oxidants and poisonous substances”, as the highest forms on medicine.