What is Pu-erh.net?
It is a Web Site that chronicles a Westerner's quest to discover, and publish, the truth about Puerh. I attempt to dispel the myths, and educate the English speaking public, about this wonderful and mysterious variety of tea.
This is a Pro-Bono work and is not affiliated with ANY commercial enterprise. My motivation is based solely on my passion for acquiring, and sharing, knowledge about this fascinating tea!
Puerh is truly unique in many ways:
All of these combine to form one of the most unique and fascinating teas in the world. Within this single Genre you can experience countless shapes, varieties, and flavors. Think of the breadth of wines available to the connoisseur in all of their infinite varieties and you begin to understand the wealth of the Puerh genre.
- It tastes like no other tea on earth. It is smooth, rich, and often reminiscent of organic (some say earthy) substances. It is available in an infinite numbers of styles and flavors.
- The leaf used can be wild or cultivated, it can come from one or more of many different Mountains. Since the different mountains all have different climates and ecological conditions they all bring their own unique flavor. Other trees, like Camphor and Rubber Trees, planted with the Puerh trees can also impart nuances into the tea.
- It can be fermented naturally over many years (Green Puerh) or artificially fermented by manual processes (Black Puerh).
- The number of years it has been stored, and the storage conditions (humid or dry) greatly affect the flavor.
- It is a "living" tea teeming with microbes during it's manufacturing process, think "yogurt" and you will get the idea. It continues to evolve as it ages, eventually demonstrating nuances that dance on your tongue and delight your palette.
- It's long history dates back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220 AD) possibly even as early as the Shang Dynasty. It was even used as a form of currency in years gone by.
- The best comes from the Yunnan province in China, more specifically an area called the "Six Famous Mountains" in Xishuanbanna.
- There are a lot of medicinal claims associates with the puerh microbes. Chinese medicine has long revered the healing powers of this tea.
- It is traditionally compressed into a variety of shapes and sizes for easy storage. These shapes resemble bricks, frisbee discs, mushrooms, birds nests, and almost any other imaginable shape. There is also a loose leaf style as well.
- It is one of the very few teas that improves with age much like a fine wine. Examples that are 30 years old, or even older, command prices in excess of a $1000 per pound.
- It is often collected, private collections worth hundreds of thousands of dollars exist, many people in Asia treat it as an investment. Old, and thus valuable, pieces of Puerh are often given as part of a Bride’s dowery.
- The primary growing area of Yunnan Puerh Tea is the area south of the 25th longitude. Pu Erh County, where the tea was first harvested, has been a very famous market for trading tea. It includes Xishuangbanna, Simao and Lincang areas of Yunnan. Tea produced in these areas was therefore called "Puerh Tea".
- The average temperature in this area ranges from 17 to 22 centigrade. The annual rainfall is between 1200 and 1800 mm. This makes for excellent conditions for growing tea trees.
- In addition, the intensity and duration of illumination can significantly influence the concentration of amino acid in tea. Illumination is also a good adjustment factor for producing chlorophyll, xanthophylls and carotenoid etc. in tea leaves. Inadequate moisture content may hamper the generation of some important phenol in tea.
- This combination of environmental conditions, tea tree varietals, and processing techniques does not exist anywhere else in the world. Hence Puerh is a very special and unique style of tea.