Pu-erh tea has been getting a lot of attention during the past years. With its increased popularity more and more tea lovers are willing to know more about pu-erh. Before talking about what are pu-erh tea benefits, hot to brew it properly, and what are the main types of it, we should figure out what is pu-erh tea and what makes it unique.
Pu-erh tea is the most oxidized type of tea that comes from Camellia sinensis plant that is called Dayeh. These trees are mostly grown in temperate regions. In fact, they can be harvested year-round, but the most appropriate time to harvest is the middle of spring. Originally, pu-erh tea came from the Yunnan province of China and is named after the market town in which it was first grown and sold. The main difference from other tea varieties, that get stale over time, is that pu-erh can mellow and improve during long period of time. Some pu-erh teas can be even more than 50 years old.
After the tea leaves have been dried and rolled they go through a microbial fermentation process that leads to change in flavor. Bitter tea leaves become sweeter and the harsh flavor becomes softer. The color of tea over time switch from green to yellow, and lastly, to black (during the storage process). Aged and fermented tea leaves can be packaged into cakes or sold as loose leaf tea.
Pu-erh has always been considered as a healthy tea full of nutrients, which benefit both physical and mental health. Here are some scientifically proven facts about pu-erh tea health benefits.
According to researches, pu-erh promotes digestion of fats and lipids thanks to the antioxidants and polyphenols in its tea leaves. That’s why it may lead to the weight loss by preventing the body from absorbing fats. Moreover, it also helps manage symptoms of a condition called Metabolic Syndrome.
Regular drinking of pu-erh tea has been proved to lower cholesterol levels in the body. For instance, in 2009, Experimental Gerontology conducted a research on rats. It showed that the “bad” type of cholesterol, was lowered in rats treated with extracts of pu-erh tea. At the same type, “good” cholesterol was increased.
Pu-erh tea protects the elastin in the skin. The loss of this elastin directly leads to skin aging. One of the benefits of drinking pu-erh tea is that it keeps your skin healthy by reducing the effects of sun damage. Besides, the anti-bacterial characteristics of pu-erh tea can protect your skin from harmful for human bacteria.
Pu-erh may prevent such diseases as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis because of high content of antioxidants. Antioxidants work the following way: they neutralize free radicals that cause cell damage and lead to disease. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants prevent cell damage and inflammation.
Tea contains caffeine and l-theanine, their combination is supposed to produce clarity and focus that helps soothe the mind and increase mental performance. L-theanine may help to get rid of both physical and mental symptoms of anxiety.
There are two main types of pu-erh: raw and ripe. They both are made from the same raw materials called mao cha. But they are distinguished by fermentation processes, taste, and color.
Time required to achieve full fermentation for raw pu-erh is about 20-30 years as it is made without additional processing. For ripe pu-erh few months are enough as people use a method to artificially accelerate the aging process. This process involves incubating the tea in a moisture-rich environment where microbial activity causes the temperature and leads to intensifying the fermentation process.
Raw pu-erh tea is quite similar to green tea in terms of flavor, while ripe one is sweet and mellow. Depending on the age of tea, raw pu-erh may be golden yellow to burnt orange color. Ripe pu-erh is usually dark chestnut.
How to brew pu-erh tea
Fill your teaware (traditionally, people use Yixing teapot or a gaiwan tea bowl) with nearly 1 tablespoon of tea leaves per 250 ml water. 'Awaken' them by quickly rinsing with hot water at about 97 °C. Immediately flush out the water and re-steep. Pu-erh is brewed in gongfu style, it means that the tea leaves are immersed in hot water for a short time before the tea is poured into another container. The best Pu-erh teas can be steeped up to 10-12 times before starting to lose their flavor.
You can taste high quality pu-erh tea produced by Sense Asia. We have explored Vietnam from north to south for the best tea farms. All teas are hermetically packed with minimum delay after receiving from the farm. We use only 100% natural ingredients for our tea so it is absolutely safe and healthy. Join us to taste pu-erh and learn more about tea and tea culture in Vietnam!
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