© Editorial Pinch 2007
Pu erh aids in the prevention of tooth decay, fights bad breath, promotes digestive enzymes, decreases the saturation of fats (there is a reason some base a good dim sum on the quality of the pu erh served), accelerates the metabolism, reduction in weight, lowers cholesterol and is a potent anti-ager.
Here is a little background on this dark, earthy, grounding tea - pu erh originated sometime before 200 bc from the Yunnan Province in China where it is still produced. What makes Pu erh so unique and unlike any other tea is that it is the only tea that is continuously oxidizing and subsequently continuously aging. The longer it oxidizes the higher the value of the tea. A good pu erh has a light, refreshing, earthy taste and camphor tree aroma. It is a delicate, elixir without any hint of that bitterness associated with tea.
Pu erh is available in two forms, loose or in compressions. Loose leaf pu erh usually consists of superior leaves, and the assurance the oxidation process is completed evenly. Compression and brick formed pu erh frequently use lower grade of leaves. In addition, the oxidation process is uneven which might produce a yeast taste if not aged properly.
In the production of pu erh you will find there are two different types, raw (natural) or cultivated. Generally, most raw pu erh on the market has been aged 5 to 10 years. High end pu erh can be aged up to 50 to 60 years
In China, there is a resurgence in the popularity of this tea offsetting pu erh prices worldwide. The demand for pu erh has led to methods of increased production. The need to accelerate the aging process includes dark conditions of cave like interiors, humid dwellings complete with the pu erh covered in a cotton (or you might call it a blanket) for 45 days instead of the natural aging of 5 to 10 years. This offsets the Pu erh market with the influx of truly aged pu erh entwined with arrival of this newly aged pu erh.
In 2005, a 30 year old, mindfully watched, half kilo of pu erh went for $40,000 in the open tea market in China. World prices for this 1.1lb of pu erh is currently unknown.
Added note: Simao in the Yunnan Province, main export of Pu erh in China is renaming their town Pu’er.