Pu’erh Tea Facts – Learn About Your Favorite Tea
Pu’erh tea is one of the rarer teas in the world. This is less popular than those such as green and black due to there being fewer types and the overall knowledge of this wonderful tea.
This being said, this is one of the 5 teas produced from the Camellia sinensis leaf that also makes up green, black, oolong and white! Check out below some more fun pu’erh tea facts and add it to your list of favorite teas!
Pu’erh tea is a unique tea that was discovered to be a delicious beverage thousands of years ago. It was said to have originated in the Yunnan Province of China from the large leaf Camellia sinensis (Dayeh).
In the time this originated, many transits of this leaf were made from this province to Tibet. The name Pu’erh came from the city it was typically sold in during these transits. That city is Pu’er City!
The tea was typically packaged in tight shapes for easier carrying capacity. As the tea was transferred, due to the long transit times and tightly wound shapes it actually began to ferment. This resulted in a dark color and distinct flavor we know and love of Pu’erh!
Originally, raw leaves were aged and slowly fermented. This process took 15 years! In the 1970’s we made an expedited version of this process known as Shou or Ripe.
Shou processing, due to its increase in efficiency actually created a huge demand for this tea in the 1990’s – 2000’s. This resulted many impostor pu’erh’s to form. This collapsed the industry in the original Yunnan Province. Luckily, since then the industry for Shou processing has slowed and prosperity has been brought back to Yunnan.
What makes pu’erh unique compared to green, black, oolong and white is the preparation of the leaves. Pu’erh is the only one of these 5 teas that is actually fermented! While this was an accident done due to long transits in the past, it resulted in the lovely tea we know today.
Pu’erh tea done in its original processing is known as Sheng Pu’erh or Raw Pu’erh. This process took 15 – 20 years to ferment tea leaves from the Dayeh after they were harvested. The conditions these leaves were fermented under were carefully watched over to ensure proper production was done. Longer fermentation times resulted in deeper, richer and darker pu’erh teas when steeped.
The Shou processing is the more efficient process used. Heat, moisture and specific bacteria are added to the leaves post harvesting to expedite the fermentation process. This ultimately took the 15 – 20 year process to only 1 year. After this year the leaves can be further fermented or sold for consumption!
Varieties & Shapes
One of the most distinct qualities of the pu’erh tea is the packaging and storage of the leaves post fermentation. The tea itself does not have many varieties like a green or black tea does besides the Sheng and Shou types, but the shapes are unique!
Pu’erh was packed into shapes for ease of transport. The shapes that are common to find are as follows:
Bing Cha: This is the most common and comes in a puck or disc. Sizes can range from 100g to 5kg!
Tuo Cha: This is similar to the Bing Cha except it has a hole punched through the middle like a donut! Tuo Cha typically weigh 100g to 3kg. This was done in ancient times to transport many tied together via a rope. (Pictured)
Brick: As the name sounds, this simply is a 100g to 1kg rectangle of pu’erh.
Square: This is a flat pressed square. This is typically 100g or 200g and pressed with a word or insignia!
Mushroom: Another name representative of the shape! Shaped like this typically for Tibetan consumption, this shape weighs in around 250g to 350g. (Pictured)
Melon: This is a shape that is done and designed as a gourd or pumpkin! It is done as a “Tribute Tea” to honor the Qing Dynasty Emperors from the best tea leaves of Yiwu Mountain. (Pictured)
Ju Pu: This is the packing of the finished pu’erh leaves in wet tangerine peels and then dried. This allows the tea to absorb the flavor of the tangerine.
Tong Cha: This is the packing of raw leaves into bamboo shoots. The bamboo is then fire roasted to intermingle the bamboo flavors into the tea. (Pictured)
Loose Leaf: This is common to many types of tea. This is more common as of present for ease of use.
Bagged: This is common to many types of tea. This is more common as of present for ease of use.
Try some for yourself by going to Generation Tea’s site here!
Other Quick Facts
Here are a few more pu’erh tea facts!
- There is typically about 60 – 70mg of caffeine per serving
- It has small traces of lovastatin which has been shown to lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
- It may potentially be a hangover cure! The Chinese lore of it is said to believe it will realign your chi within your spleen and stomach thus lessening the symptoms of the hangover.
- It aids in digestion.
- It has high amounts of vitamin C and other immunity boosting properties.
- Much more!
The Magic of Pu’erh Tea
Pu’erh tea is one of the rarer and less known teas. It has a unique history of how it was founded, created and packed. It comes in all sorts of fun shapes and sizes!
On top of all those unique characteristics, there are many cool health benefits and delicious tastes!
If you love these pu’erh tea facts and want to try some for yourself, try out Generation Tea’s Pu’erh Tea by clicking here!
Let me know what your favorite pu’erh tea fact is in the comments below!