What is Pu erh tea or Puer tea?
Puer teas are produced in Yunnan Province of China. This type of tea is highly valued in the world as the processing techniques have been a well-guarded secret for centuries. Like wine, the quality and taste of this type of tea improve with age. For Wikipedia definition click here.
Pu erh teas are very expensive. You have to spend many thousands of dollars if you want to buy more than 50 years old puer tea. You may say this type of tea is more expensive than gold.
Puer tea is fully oxidized and has lower antioxidants than white and green tea. It is popular because of its medicinal properties which work well in weight loss, reduction of serum cholesterol and protection from cardiovascular problems.
There are two types of puer teas – loose puer tea and compressed pu erh tea.
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Production process of pu erh tea
The production process of this type of tea is also unique and labor intensive. The production process involves many steps –
Fresh leaves are picked after half an hour of sunrise. Then picked leaves are placed on a drying table for indoor withering ranging from one to two days. This withering process removes the moisture from the leaves.
After that withered leaves go through a drying process to kill the green. This process is called Sha Qing in Chinese. There are two drying methods – machine drying method (steaming) and manual drying method (Panning).
Then dried leaves are rolled in the machine or manually. After that, rolled leaves are sun-dried for two to three days.
Loose pu erh tea or mao cha in Chinese is ready after this step is over.
There is another step to make compressed puer tea or puer tea cake, which is called wet piling. This type of tea process involves piling, dampening and turning the loose puer tea leaves into cake-like compressed shape.