Pu-Er Tea (also commonly known as the black tea in China) originated over 2000 years ago from the Yunan Province of China. Its history relates closely to the tea trade between China and other nations, and it is named for the town from which it was originally sold en route to other countries. One of the more distinctive characteristics of Pu-Er tea is that it commonly comes in shaped forms, such as bricks, cakes (disc-shaped) and tuo cha (shaped like tiny bowls). These shapes make the transportation and storage of Pu-Er Tea more convenient back in those days.
Pu-Er Tea is made from the leaves of large-leaf Yunan tree, and acquired its colour and flavour from an aging process known as fermentation. This process usually takes about 15 to 20 years for the tea leaves to mature into a deep, rich and smooth flavour that Pu-Er Tea lovers’ desire. When shopping for quality Pu-Er Tea, it is important to look at the cake and inspect if the leaves are uniform throughout. There should be as little twigs as possible and no dark or white spots on the surface of the compressed Pu-Er Tea. Also, the compression of the tea should not be too tight or too loose. Good pressed Pu-Er Tea often have a matte sheen on the surface of the cake and should smell fragrant. On terms of taste, young Pu-Er Tea may taste bitter but should still exhibit a pleasant mouthful and sweet aftertaste, while aged Pu-Er Tea should taste smooth with slight hints of bitterness. The element of taste is an important indicator of aged Pu-Er Tea quality and the texture should be rich and thick.
Pu-Er Tea is widely known for offering a numerous health benefits. The soothing properties of the tea aid in digestion and are perfect after heavy and greasy meals. Pu-Er Tea also has powerful cholesterol and blood pressure lowering effects, and aid significantly in weight loss efforts as well as increase metabolism. Interestingly, Pu-Er Tea has high level of Vitamin C which is soluble in water and can be rapidly assimilated by the body.