Pu-erh (or Puerh), also known as Polee, is a tea from the Yunnan province in the southwest of China. It is produced from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant that produces green, oolong and black teas. The tea is dark in color and has reddish black leaves that make it a heavy, thick tea with a strong, earthy aroma.
Different from other teas, pu-erh tea is post-fermented, this means it is both fermented and then goes through an aging process under high humidity. Pu-erh tea is either raw or ripened. Raw pu-erh, also known as green, goes through sun fixation, rolling and sun drying. Ripened pu-erh, or dark, goes through sun fixation, rolling, Wo Dui (piling, dampening and mixing the tea to ensure even fermentation) and sun drying. Added processes include both types being compressed or shaped, and aged.
Pu-erh tea is compressed/shaped in a variety of ways. One of these ways is known as toucha, which is compressed Yunnan maocha green tea. In its compressed state, it can further age as it is well known that the longer pu-erh is stored, the better its quality. The Yunnan maocha green tea is one form of pu-erh tea that when brewed, produces a yellowish infusion with a dry clean taste. To learn more about this tea, including brewing instructions, just click here.
You can also find pu-erh tea as young ripened pu-erh tea. This form of pu-erh contains tea leaves and buds that are selected for post fermentation, which allows the tea to fully ripen. This tea is allowed to age for approximately 2 years. You can find this tea by clicking here. The ripened pu-erh tea is commonly mixed with chrysanthemum flower and its dark and reddish black leaves make a heavy, thick tea with a strong, earthy aroma.
Pu-erh tea, in its many forms, is known to have a variety of potential health benefits including lowering cholesterol levels, ridding the body of toxins and helping indigestion. Since it contains caffeine, it stimulates the body’s central nervous system, heart and muscles and is said to improve mental alertness and sharpen one’s thinking. Click here to explore the many varieties of pu-erh tea.