You have probably heard about Pu-erh tea and how it takes the tea world by storm. Pu-erh is a unique kind of tea that originated from the town of Pu-erh in Yunnan Province of China. According to historical accounts, Pu-erh tea has been in existence since 25-220 CE, as old as the most ancient dynasties in China.
Like the discovery of black tea, Yunnan’s invention of Pu-erh tea is for the sole purpose of improving the usual taste of tea while making its shelf life longer. As time went by, Pu-erh tea became an iconic type of tea famous for its affordability, immense nutritional benefits, and meticulous production.
How Pu-erh Tea is Produced
The fermentation stage is the unique process of how tea producers make Pu-erh tea. Firstly, tea masters harvest the mature leaves and stems of Camellia sinensis, pile the leaves and wither them. This method helps the bacteria build up quickly and start the fermentation process.
Afterward, the leaves are gathered and seared into a pan to stimulate the secretion of enzymes. Pu-erh tea is then dried and left in storage to oxidize, taking 40 days. The longer it’s fermented, the better the taste will be. These steps combine to bring the iconic Pu-erh tea into a pedestal similar to fine wine.
To date, Pu-erh tea is only produced from Yunnan province. The tedious production of Pu-erh tea makes the by-product more flavorful and concentrated compared to other types of tea. It could take 12 times of steeping Pu-erh teas before they lose their intense flavors. The demand for Pu-erh tea is also high in the West, resulting in short supply.
Types of Pu-erh Tea
There are two renowned types of Pu-erh tea: the Raw Pu-erh and the Ripe Pu-erh.
- Raw Pu-erh – is categorized into “young raw Pu-erh” and “aged raw Pu-erh.”
The young raw Pu-erh tea is less than five years old, with a signature taste of sweet, floral, and nutty flavor. It could also taste bitter depending on how long the drinker steeps the leaves.
Meanwhile, the aged raw Pu-erh tea reaches 50 years and up. You can taste the earthy, fruity, and floral flavors at the same time when drinking the aged Pu-erh tea.
- Ripe Pu-erh – with the demand of the aged Pu-erh tea, ripe Pu-erh came into the picture. This tea mimics the taste of aged Pu-erh without taking years of fermentation. Producing ripe Pu-erh involves mixing aged Pu-erh into the tea leaves to introduce the microbes to new leaves. This method speeds up the fermentation but similar flavor to high-quality Pu-erh tea.
Benefits of Pu-erh Tea
Whether purchased in cakes or as loose leaves, the health benefits a cup of Pu-erh tea can bring to your body are promising. Pu-erh tea’s existence will be short-lived if not for its tremendous health benefits.
Since it is produced from years of fermentation, Pu-erh tea contains high probiotic content to improve blood sugar and regulate weight. Several studies prove that regular consumption of Pu-erh tea helps improve the body mass index (BMI) for numerous people with different body types and health conditions.
Pu-erh tea can be your energy boost to jumpstart the day and improve your mental focus. You can get 70 mg of caffeine fixed and no-calorie from Pu-erh tea sans the hyperactive feeling. Pu-erh tea also contains phytochemicals to lower stress hormones and promote better sleep.
After a weekend night out, Pu-erh tea can also soothe your hangover as its caffeine content helps the liver recover from alcohol intake. Make sure to secure Pu-erh tea leaves for a quick hangover fix.