Pu-erh Tea has more than 1,750 years of recorded history dating back to China's Three Kingdoms Period. Archeologists agree that the consumption of broad leaf tea in today's Pu-erh producing area dates back to a time even before the written record.
Pu-erh tea only comes from the Yunnan region of southwest China. The highest quality of authentic Pu-erh Teas are made with tealeaves that are hand-harvested from wild and semi-wild antique tea trees are dated to 100 years and oldered. Many tea experts refer to the raw material for all Pu-erh, sun dried green, as a semi-green tea because it is more oxidized than most other green teas. This Sun-dried green tea or "Saiqing Mao Cha" is made by withering, roasting, rolling, kneading in the Sun, reversing and drying in the Sun before grading. The various grades of "Saiqing" are used as the starting material for making all types of Green and Black Pu-erh Tea in all of its loose and compressed forms.
Pu-erh can be divided into two categories, Green Pu-erh and Black Pu-erh:
Green Pu-erh ( known as Raw or Un-Cooked ): This is the oldest type of Pu-erh and before the 1970's most Pu-erh was of the green varietal.These raw pu-erhs tend to have a sharper flavor profile than the ripe pu-erhs.
Black Pu-erh ( known as Cooked or Ripe ): Black Pu-erh is referred to as "the cooked type" due to the fact that dried green tealeaves (made tea) are transformed using natural fermentation. The heat and moisture within the pile of fermenting tealeaves transforms the green tea from greenish-golden color (rich in Tea Polyphenols and Theaflavins) to blackish-red color (rich in Thearubigin and Theabrownin). The flavor of the Sun-dried green tea is also transformed from bracing and sharp to mellow and smooth through this process.
Black Pu-erh is made according to a special pile fermentation process which is different from the normal oxidation procedure which, unlike other tea types starts with a sun dried leaf rather than a fresh leaf. The Black Pu-erh process involves heaping dried green tea into piles. Pure water is added to moisten the pile of sun-dried green tea. The pile is kept covered in a well ventilated and climate controlled room. The pile alternates from covered and un-covered in an effort to regulate the moisture and heat generated by the fermentation within the pile of sun-dried green tea. Every few days or according to the temperature of the inner pile, the tea maker blends the pile to disperse heat, moisture and bacteria evenly throughout the pile of fermenting tea. The heat and moisture of the pile is checked and the height and width of the pile is adjusted according to the desired rate of fermentation and experience of the tea master. The heat and moisture within the pile of sun-dried green tea encourages bacteriological activity and natural fermentation (like a compost pile) which facilitates rapid color transformation of the Sun-dried tealeaves from greenish-yellow to reddish-black.
The pile fermentation of Black Pu-erh takes roughly 90 days. After fermentation, Black Pu-erh is dried in a combination of methods and sold in various loose tea grades like our Bold Leaf Pu-erh. Or in compressed form, after fermentation, the Black Pu-erh is steamed, compressed and dried into a variety of shapes such as our Ancient Golden Tuo-Cha.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Pu-erh tea has a warming and potent digestive property. Chinese doctors consider Pu-erh as a tea that dispels or cleanses the body of fat and toxins from meat and oily foods. This is also why Pu-erh has such a wide appeal amongst many Asian food cultures. Tests conducted in China report that Pu-erh can lower the alcohol level in the bloodstream. Many in Asia feel that Pu-erh is the best cure for a hangover where it is consumed as a "detox tea". Pu-erh tea is regarded as the best amongst all teas for its body slimming function and as a natural and safe dieter's tea. Recent research suggests that consuming 5-8 cups of Pu-erh Tea each day can reduce cholesterol and plaque of the arteries. In France, Pu-erh Tuo Cha is widely popular and consumed by many women as a "beauty and dieting tea". Pu-erh is widely consumed in Hong Kong, Guangdong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Tibet, Bhutan, by Himalayan cultures and along the old Silk Road routes into Central Asia and Southeastern Asia. Compared to other teas, Pu-erh has a cult following amongst connoisseurs and is regarded as a sacred relic of ancient tea cultures and traditions. CaryTown Tea offers only the highest quality of Certified Organic and Fair Trade Pu-erh.
Take a look at all the Pu-erh Tea's we have available in our store.