Pu’er or Pu-erh Tea is a kind of dark tea found mainly in China’s Yunnan Province. There are many types of dark teas in other provinces of China. Those produced in Yunnan Province are generally called Pu'er, referring to the name of Pu'er County which used to be an important stop of the "Tea-horse Road".
Generally speaking, the fresher the tea is, and the better taste it has. However, just like wines, the quality and value of Pu’er tea improve with age. The longer it’s stored, the better it tastes. Thus, Pu’er tea not only makes a good drink, but also a valuable collector’s item. That’s why people refer to it as the drinkable antique.
The processing history of Pu’er tea can be dated back to the East Han Dynasty over 1,700 years ago. Tea trade between Pu’er and other areas began in the Tang Dynasty. The tea was sold through the "Tea-horse Road", a road for people who transported tea by horses. Pu’er tea was carried into Tibet along the Tea-horse Road and became a daily necessity of the nomadic people, who used it to eliminate extra oil absorbed from prepared greasy foods such as cheeses and meats.
Features and functions
Pu’er tea is big and rough in shape, black or brown red in color and the soup tastes mellow, leaving a sweet aftertaste. The tea is mild in nature and does no harm to the stomach. It has been discovered that drinking Pu’er tea can lower blood pressure and can act as a cancer preventative. At the same time, it has medicinal effects of fat removing and blood sugar lowering.
The production of Puer tea is a very interesting and complex process. After sun fixation, rolling and sun drying, the completed teas were traditionally pressed into shapes (the tea cake) for ease of shipping. Pu'er tea ban be compressed into a variety of shapes. Other lesser seen forms include, stacked "melon pagodas", pillars, calabashes, and small bricks (2–5 cm in width). Pu'er tea is also compressed into the hollow centers of bamboo stems or packed and bound into a ball inside the peel of various citrus fruits. After pressing, Pu’er tea cakes are traditionally wrapped in a square of hand-made paper.