Thank the heavens for tea. How did people ever come together without it?
— Jeannie Lin, My Fair Concubine
Pu erh occupies a unique place in the world of tea. When it comes to processing, storage and flavour, there is no comparable tea. The taste of Pu erh originates from various factors such as raw materials, soil, height, time and storage conditions. The combination of these elements makes Pu Erh such an exceptional tea variety.
The taste palette of Pu erh is generally very diverse: it can be sweet, bitter, floral, soft, woody, astringent, sour, earthy, watery or even tasteless. Multiple flavours are often perceived during a single tea brew. As Pu erh ages, the flavour changes. So don't throw out your Pu erh if you didn't like it the first time. Just make yourself another nice pot of tea and go on a taste excursion!
Origin of Pu-erh
Pu-erh has been produced over 1700 years. The story goes that Pu-erh was discovered by chance. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 N.C.) there was a lively trade in tea inside and outside China. In order to take large quantities of tea, merchants pressed the tea in large blocks. Because of the long distances and difficult terrain these traders were often months or even years on the road. But there was something strange happened with the tea during those long trips. Not only the color changed from green to orange, but the taste was livelier, richer and fruitier.
Unknowingly, the tea underwent, during the month-long journey, an aging and fermentation process where bacteria and fungi causing biological and enzymatic changes.
Pu-erh is named after the city of Pu'er in Yunnan province.
Production of Pu-erh
Pu-erh is,in contrast to black tea, not oxidized, but fermented. This means that the tea is ripened with bacteria and fungi.
There are two types of Pu-erh, raw and ripe Pu-erh. By Raw Pu-erh tea leaves are pressed immediately after the production of forms. When ripe Pu-erh tea leaves are matured for several months alvoerens to be squeezed. In principle, Pu-erh begins as green tea.
Like a good wine, Pu-erh gets better with the years.
Brewing tips for Pu-erh
On average, the temperature of the water has to be between 95°C - 100°C before it is poured over the Pu-erh.
The average setting time for Pu-erh tea is between 2 and 4 minutes.
On the information sheet of the tea is indicated what is the desired water temperature and brewing time.