Pu-erh tea or Pu’er tea is a famous Chinese tea and a special product of Yunnan Province. It is also a national geographical indication product of China.
Theoretically, the traditional Pu-erh tea belongs to Chinese Dark tea, one of the six main types of Chinese tea, but nowadays, due to the reputation and development of Pu-erh tea, some people consider Pu-erh tea is a special category of Chinese tea.
Pu-erh tea does not only refer to a kind of tea, but a variety of the tea tree. Pu-erh tea is made from the fresh tea leaves of a special tea tree called “Pu-erh” that is mainly growing in Yunnan Province. All teas made from the leaves of the Pu-erh tea tree are called Pu-erh tea.
In addition, Pu-erh tea is a kind of traditional Chinese medicine. It is often used to detoxicate and clear internal heat and treat headaches, dizziness, dysentery, etc.
1. History of Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea has a very long history. As early as 3,000 years ago, Yunnan tea farmers began to grow tea trees, but there was no name for Pu-erh tea at that time.
In the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), Pu-erh tea began to be planted and produced on a large scale.
In the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD), Pu-erh tea played an important role in the national social economy and trade.
In the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912 AD), Pu-erh tea began to become a royal tribute tea and a national gift to foreign envoys. Emperor of the late Qing Dynasty said, “Drink Longjing tea in summer and Pu-erh tea in winter”. It can be seen how famous Pu-erh tea is.
Later, with the outbreak of war in the early 20th century, the whole tea industry in Yunnan Province was depressed and stagnant.
For a long time after 1949, Yunnan’s tea industry focused on green tea and black tea and did not inherit and develop the excellent tradition of Pu-erh tea. It was not until 1975 that Yunnan Province began to resume the production of Pu-erh tea.
On May 13, 2008, the Chinese government approved the implementation of geographical indication product protection for “Pu-erh Tea”.
In recent years, with the development of social economy and the improvement of living standards, people began to attach more importance to Pu-erh tea due to its strong health care functions and charming taste. Therefore, the popular trend of Pu-erh tea can quickly be spread all over the world.
2. Growth environment of Pu-erh tea
Yunnan Province has a long history of tea production and has a plateau-climate advantage. It is an important tea production base in China.
It is located on the Yunnan-Kweichow Plateau, which has abundant rainfall and many rivers and lakes. Most areas are warm in winter and cool in summer, with four seasons like spring, suitable for the growth of various crops.
The capital of Yunnan Province, Kunming City, has the reputation of “Spring City”.
The production areas of Pu-erh tea are located in the southwest of Yunnan Province, mainly including Xishuangbanna, Pu’er City, Lincang city, and Baoshan City.
All the production areas have abundant sunshine, high humidity, abundant rainfall, deep soil layer, and high organic matters, which is very suitable for the growth of Pu-erh tea.
The tea tree variety of making Pu-erh tea is Yunnan large-leaf species, known as Pu’er species, which is rich in beneficial chemical ingredients.
3. Characteristics of Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea has various shapes. Except for the Pu-erh loose tea, it also includes Cake tea (Cake-shaped), Tuo tea (Bowl-shaped), Pill tea (Pill-shaped), YuanBao tea (Shoe-shaped), Heart-shaped tea, etc.
The color of dried Pu-erh tea is usually dark with brown or yellow. The color of its tea soup includes agate red, amber, and brown-black.
Besides, with the development of Pu-erh tea, there are many new kinds of Pu-erh tea invented, such as Pu-erh green tea, Pu-erh black tea, Pu-erh oolong tea, Pu-erh white tea, Pu-erh yellow tea, and Pu-erh dark tea. It is one of the reasons why some people consider Pu-erh tea is a special category of Chinese tea.
But this classification is also controversial. For example, the Pu-erh white tea is named only according to the producing process of white tea. In fact, in addition to the producing process, the real white tea must also be made from the tree species of white tea. whereas Pu-erh white tea is made from the Pu-erh tea tree, not the white tea tree.
Pu-erh tea has the value of collection. The more aged the Pu-erh tea, the more valuable it is. So people call it an antique that can be drunk, collected, and auctioned.
In recent years, as people pay more and more attention to health and safety foods, organic Pu-erh tea has appeared on the market. It is a high-quality Pu-erh tea that is non-pollution, pesticide-free, and additive-free.
4. Ripe Pu-erh tea and Raw Pu-erh tea
According to the method of fermentation, Pu-erh tea can be classified into Ripe Pu-erh tea and Raw Pu-erh tea.
Ripe Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea, which is artificially fermented by scientific methods, is called Ripe Pu-erh tea. The color of Ripe Pu-erh tea is dark brown and its aroma is similar to that of bean or jujube.
Raw Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea, which is naturally fermented after picking, is called Row Pu-erh tea. With natural fermentation, the color of Raw Pu-erh tea will change from green to deep yellow then to reddish-brown. And its aroma is similar to that of lotus or chestnut and so on.
Raw Pu-erh tea tastes more irritation and it has a bitter taste. But as the Raw Pu-erh tea is stored and aged for a long time, its flavor will be milder and its value will be higher than Ripe Pu-erh tea. High-quality aged Pu-erh tea is usually Raw Pu-erh tea aged for many years.
5. Health benefits of Pu-erh tea
- Promoting digestion
- Bacteriostasis and sterilization
- Protecting intestines and stomach
- Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
- Losing weight. Pu-erh tea contains lipase, which has a good effect on the decomposition of fat.
6. How to make/brew Pu-erh tea
- Tea set: Ceramic teapot is best.
- The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:20-30. 5g of dried Pu-erh tea needs 100-150ml of water.
- The temperature of the water: 100℃. Pu-erh tea requires 100°C boiling water to brew the fragrance of Pu’er tea.
In addition, Pu-erh tea can be mixed with other auxiliary ingredients such as milk, wolfberry, chrysanthemum, American ginseng, etc.