Pu erh History and Information
Pu-erh tea has a number of spelling variations but they are all the same tea: Pu'er tea, Puer tea, Pu er tea or Bolay tea. All Pu-erh tea is made from a "large leaf" variety of the tea plant Camellia sinensis and named after the Chinese Pu-erh county located near Simao, Yunnan, China.
Pu-erh tea at the highest classification level is broken down into raw/green (sheng) or ripened/cooked (shou). The difference between these two classes is based on the processing method. Sheng pu-erh is classified as a green tea regardless of age, and the shou is known as a post-fermented tea due to the processing method. Unlike other teas that should ideally be consumed shortly after production, pu-erh can be drunk immediately or aged for many years; pu-erh teas are often now classified by year and region of production much like wine vintages. Sheng pu-erh will have a more astringent taste to the tea for a number of years until it begins to show some age. By “showing some age,” I am referring to the mellowing of the tea and the appearance of a more balanced profile.
Pu-erh tea is available as loose leaf or as cakes of compacted tea.
The city of Puer used to be the province’s primary tea market, and consequently the name “puer tea” was derived from the city name. (The city Simao in 2007 changed its name to Puer, and should not be confused with the ancient city).
The shoots and young leaves from this varietal are often covered with fine hairs, with the pekoe (two leaves and a bud) larger than other tea varietals. The leaves are also slightly different in chemical composition, which alter the taste and smell of the brewed tea, as well as its desirability for aging. Due to the scarcity of old wild tea trees, pu-erh made using such trees blended from different tea mountains of the Yunnan Province are highly valued, while more and more connoisseurs are seeking pu-erh with leaves taken from a single tea mountain's wild forests. JAS-eTea.com is proud to have available for our customers a nice selection of teas made exclusively from the very old or ancient tea trees.
For additional information, the reader may want to check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pu-erh_tea