Friday, 29 August 2014

What is Pu'erh Tea?

Pu'erh or  Pu-erh or  Puer, is a black tea from Yunnan Province in China.  It is named after Pu'erh City from where it originated and was sold to other countries via the tea trade routes.  

The flavour of Pu'erh is deep and earthy and it is often recommended as a digestive after dinner.  There are many varieties of Pu'erh the better ones are fermented in a compressed cake form and aged. These compressed forms are  sometimes known as "bird's nest pu'erh".  It developed its dark colour and flavour from the natural fermentation process that took place during transit.  The best pu'erh tea is aged for up to 15 years but in the last few decades a process known as "shou" processing has quickened the fermentation process.  This involves heat and moisture and the tea is ripened within a year.  "Sheng" pu'erh is aged under supervision for 15 to 20 years and has a deeper, richer and more complex flavour that is favoured by connoisseurs of pu'erh.  Pu'erh is available in compressed form in many shapes or as loose leaf. 

Health Benefits of Pu'erh

Reputed health benefits include weight-loss, improved digestion, reducing bad cholesterol and controlling carbohydrate cravings.  Many use it as an adjunct to their weight-loss protocol and to improve insulin/glucose metabolism.  
In Chinese medicine, pu'erh tea warms the middle burner (spleen and stomach) and is therefore beneficial for digestion and metabolism.  

A Lovely Tea-House I visited in Hoi An, Vietnam

If the flavour of Pu'erh doesn't appeal you could try mixing it with other herbal teas - try peppermint or chrysanthemum.  

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