Norbu Tea
About Pu-erh Tea also known as Pu-erh or Pu'er tea

About Pu-Erh Tea


Pu-Erh tea is a huge subject and is still relatively unknown in the West. True Pu-Erh only comes from Yunnan province in southwest China, which is where tea consumption and cultivation first started several thousand years ago.

The main points about Pu-Erh tea that differentiate it from the other types are as follows:
  1. Pu-Erh teas come from large leaf varieties of Camellia Sinensis that are native to Yunnan province. They are botanically different from other tea varietals cultivated in China.
  2. Pu-Erh is sun dried, not heat dried like green teas.
  3. While Pu-Erh can be produced from plants of any age, the best Pu-Erh comes from ancient wild trees in a forest setting.
  4. Real Pu-Erh will change and develop wonderful complexity with age, like a fine wine!

Some Pu-Erh is sold as loose tea, but the majority of higher quality Pu-Erh teas are compressed into many different forms, such as bricks, bird's nests, mushrooms, melons, etc. The most typical shape, though, is the "Bing Cha" or round disc shaped tea. There are many theories as to why teas were first compressed into the various shapes, but the generally accepted explanation for this phenomenon is that compression made the finished product more compact and easier to transport. Due to its popularity as a beverage and the medicinal values attributed to it, for hundreds of years compressed tea was transported on horseback up over the Himalayan border range into Tibet and eventually India, as well as to other parts of modern day China and Mongolia. Many of the modern land trade routes still in use throughout modern China are based on these old tea horse roads.

Many people believe that Pu-Erh achieves its fullest potential after aging for many years. With age, the flavor of the tea does dramatically mellow and change. As in the vintage wine industry, the desirability of one tea over another after aging is really up to the consumer, although the opinions of experts are greatly valued. Pricing in the aged segment of the Pu-Erh tea business is typically based on the product's quality, scarcity, and the ratings given to them by tea experts. Pu-Erh cakes that have been stored correctly and authenticated by experts can sell for well over $1,000 US per kilogram in today's very prosperous Asian economies! Unfortunately for us though, properly stored authentic aged Pu-Erh is very difficult to find, especially in the West.


Production Methods:
There are two types or categories of Pu-Erh that are produced. There is Sheng , which is also referred to as raw, green, or uncooked, and Shu, which is also referred to as ripened, cooked, or black.

Sheng (Raw) Pu-Erh Tea Production Method

Shu (Ripe) Pu-Erh Tea Production Method

Pu-Erh Tea Terminology Guide
Norbu Tea Company, LLC PO Box 800697 Dallas, TX 75380-0697 norbu@norbutea.com

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