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All About Pu-erh Tea

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For a strong tea with a unique flavor, try Pu-erh, an aged and fermented black tea. Highly prized in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, Pu-erh ages like fine wine and may stay fresh up to fifty years. This tea is arguably one of the the most sought after teas in the world!

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The Method

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Unique

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Pu-erh tea goes through a unique process of oxidation and fermentation even after the leaves have been dried and rolled, which causes them to darken even more than other black tea. This process creates a bold taste that can be smooth, grassy, fruity, malty, herbal and peaty. 

Pu-erh tea originates from the Yunnan province of China and is named after the market town where it first developed. In the Far East, it is known as black tea, while what the West calls black tea is called red tea there.

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Ancient Leaves

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Like all teas, Pu-erh is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. It uses a larger leaf strain called Dayeh, from trees with mature leaves that are known to be ancient—between 500 and 1000 years old. The trees are typically from temperate regions, and the best time to harvest from them is mid-spring, although they can technically be harvested year-round.

The fermentation process leads to many health benefits, which can include cholesterol reduction, digestive improvement, stress relief, weight loss, cancer-fighting properties, increased alertness and more.

Pu-erh is also the strongest tea, making it popular with coffee lovers.

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Types of Pu-erh Tea

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Pu-erh teas are said to be regarded as highly prized because of all of the multitude of health benefits that are described above and is highly sought after all over the world in places such as Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan, which also means that it has become astonishingly priced across the globe. It is only a matter of time before this tea hits the mainstream population.

There are two main classifications of Pu-erh teas, based on the amount of processing the tea leaves undergo after being picked and withered: raw (sheng) and cooked or ripe (shou). A third variety can also be found that combines the two.

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RAW PU-ERH

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This type is fermented naturally, and takes at least a decade to age. The longer it ages, the more delicious it tastes. After fermentation, the leaves are partially pan fired, to halt the enzyme activity. Next, they’re lightly kneaded and rolled, then left to dry. Some are compressed into cakes and others are left in loose-leaf form—both are excellent.

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HALF-COOKED

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Since the development of ripe Pu-erh, a third method has been crafted. Called the half-cooked method, it involves creating a mixture of raw and cooked leaves that have been smoke-steamed and pressed.

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RIPE PU-ERH

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This type, in contrast, is manually fermented, shortening the aging time. This results a milder but richer taste, and also eliminates the tea’s musty odor. The leaves are picked, withered and then mixed with a bacterial culture that mimics the bacterial growth in natural fermentation.

The leaves are then left to fully oxidize for up to 40 days in a humid and hot environment before firing. Like raw Pu-erh teas, the aroma of ripe Pu-erh becomes smoother and richer with aging. The ripe technique was developed in 1973 by the Yunnan Kunming tea factory to speed up the production process.

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Caffeine

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Caffeine Content of Pu-erh Tea

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The amount of caffeine in Pu-erh tea can vary greatly, due to the fermentation and aging process. The more aged the Pu-erh, the better the flavor—and the less the caffeine.

Generally speaking, the raw production process yields less caffeine than the ripe process. Whether the Pu-erh is black vs. green matters as well, since black tea contains more caffeine than green tea. You can expect a black fermented tea to yield 60-100 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup, equivalent to black tea. In contrast, green/young Pu-erh tea yields 30-45 milligrams of caffeine per cup.

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At Grey and Bash Teas, we strive to provide our customers with the most up to date educational information on loose leaf teas, offer pre-orders on early releases, send free samples once you reach a certain amount of bags of tea’s purchased, discount coupons randomly throughout the year, random gifts included with online purchases and the list goes on. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to join our exclusive Cuppa Club!

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Drop Us a Line

Don't be shy. Let us know if you have any questions!

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Dialogue is an essential part of any script

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Dialogue is an essential part of any script

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