Puer tea, also spelled like "puerh or "pu-erh, is a high-quality tea from China. This is a simple tea made with ancient methods from old tea trees.
The tea trees grow in an area called Yunnan, in southwest China. Tea is thought to have originated in this area about 2,000 years ago.
Many of the tea trees are located in a type of rain forest in higher elevations. Puerh tea is typically handpicked, sun-dried, and aged in order to create a smooth, mellow tea blend that has an earthy taste. Small farmers grow most of the tea.
Black tea is created by taking the tea leaves after they have been dried in the sun and placing them in a pile. Then workers sprinkle water on the leaves. This makes the tea age faster.
The pile of tea leaves is watched for temperature changes and stirred if necessary. This process is repeated every day for 70 days. After that, the leaves are either left loose or pressed with steam to form a tea brick or cake, and, just like the green tea, it must be dried again before it is sold. The tea is graded when it is sold. The grade depends upon leaf size in the tea mixture.
Brewing and Use
This tea may be used more than once, up to 10 times. The tea is a great value because it makes many more cups than the average tea bag.
To make this tea, purchase a high-quality tea cake, brick, or loose tea. When purchasing a cake or brick, the tea should look uniform and should not be too tightly pressed. Black tea should look dark and have red overtones. Green tea should look dark green and have silvery overtones. If the brick or cake does not smell right (some describe a poor quality cake as smelling like old socks), try another.
Studies are currently underway to see if drinking a puer brew helps control cholesterol levels. It is also thought to help digestion and metabolism. It may also help stabilize blood sugar, reduce plaque in the arteries, help with weight loss, help with cancer prevention, help with sleep, and prevent bad breath.
The tea should be stored in an open container. It should not be placed in bags or closed up in tins or other containers. Puerh tea contains beneficial microbes and air must circulate through the tea leaves. It needs room to breathe so that it will continue to age. This tea's taste improves throughout the years and it may be stored for as long as 25 years.