Extremely smooth for a loose leaf Puerh (pronounced POO-ar), this tea is also known as a “ripe” or “cooked” Puerh. Robust and surprisingly tasty with milk, it is distinctly earthy with an unmistakable aged flavor.
The Yunnan province, in southern China, is the home of Puerh teas. Puerh begins life as a sun-dried green tea, known as maocha in Mandarin. This tea is piled, dampened, and covered, which allows the natural blend of bacteria and yeast to begin fermenting or composting the tea leaves. The leaf piles are turned regularly to maintain even fermentation. Eventually, a dark brown leaf is produced – a leaf which, if left in hot water for several minutes, brews up as dark as coffee.
Apart from the loose leaf version, several varieties of cakes, squares and bricks of compressed Puerh are available, ranging in size from a few grams to a half kilogram. These forms were once used as currency in the far reaches of the Chinese Republic and some isolated areas apparently still use them in barter today.
Ripe (Shou) Chinese Puerh Tea*.