Pu'erh is a 'dark' tea indicating it is fermented and aged. Post oxidation the leaves undergo a microbial fermentation process. The process is specific to the county of Pu'erh in the province of Yunnan. Though there are other dark teas a true Pu'erh comes from this region of the Yunnan province.
Pu-erh tea is traced back to the Eastern Han Period. It was a common commodity used in trade in Pu-erh in the Tang Dynasty, though it became famous during the Ming Dynasty and popularized in the Qing Dynasty. Pu-erh and its raw materials from various tea mountains were gathered along the Ancient Tea Route to Pu-erh (a prefecture in the Yunnan province), and then conveyed by caravan to Beijing, Tibet, Southeast Asia and Europe. Since the tea was carried on animal’s backs over rugged mountains, the teas were pressed into cakes to prevent slippage. This enhanced the fermentation process adding to the specialization of this unique tea. As the tea ages, like a fine wine, the tea grows in value. The fermentation and aging result in a unique flavor profile including a rich, fruity, peaty, musky, earthy, smooth profile.
To capture the true pu'erh experience steep tea in a yixing clay tea pot or a gaiwan tea bowl. Placing a portion of the tea leaf in the bowl to 'awaken' the leaves. Then steep gongfu style, paying attention to specific aspects of preparation, steeping, serving, appreciating the aroma and even the clean-up of the tea leaves. At the end the guest would appreciate not only the beverage but the aroma and the leaves.
There are 2 types of Pu'erh, cooked (shou) or raw (sheng). Shou type has gone through an accelerated process of fermentation, while Sheng type is slower allowing for a variety of environmental factors to influence the end results. Both types can be stored and preserved thus often you will see dates indicating the aging process.
see our Pu'erh