- take their name from an ancient tea trading post in Yunnan province, China
- are made from Yunnan, broad-leaf, sun-dried tea leaves can be divided into two categories – uncooked and cooked
- like fine wine or barrel-aged Scotch, can be aged naturally are also known as ‘detox tea’, known for outstanding health benefits
- depending on the variety, may contain very low or moderate levels of caffeine
Over the last 50 years, Pu-erh (pronounced puu-ehr) has become well known both inside and out of China for its naturally aged qualities which allow the tea to become richer and smoother over time. With an almost endless array of vintages, Pu-erh can be categorized in terms of production year, seasonality, leaf origin, blend quality and production skill. And much like a fine wine, Pu-erh tends to command higher prices with the passing of time.
Typically, Pu-erh tea is classified into two major categories; uncooked or ‘sheng’ Pu-erh and cooked or ‘shu’ Pu-erh. Uncooked Pu-erh consists of sun-dried, large leaf tea leaves compressed into differing forms (i.e., disc, brick, bowl and so on) for continued storage and aging. Cooked Pu-erh, differs in that it undergoes an additional step in the processing method whereby heat and water are used to induce a short or long period of fermentation.
Flavour profiles can range across sweet, smooth, sweet, thick, woody, earthy and deep.