Puerh Tea was discovered and its usage dates as far back as four to five thousand years although the first use of Puerh tea is lost among history and legends, what can be roughly confirmed is that tea originated in Yunnan Province within the southwest of China the origin of tea and the native place of Puerh. Located Within the famous MengHai region, Yunnan, wild Puerh tea trees over 1,000 years old still remain and produce the most prized and collected Puerh teas in China and the world today. Our tea is sourced from villages within MengHai from the famous Six Mountain region. To view map click here for Tea Horse Road and Tea History.
Puerh Tree. All tea comes from one plant, Camellia sinensis. The differences in all teas available today – green, blacks, whites, oolongs, yellow and Puerh -- is in the specific varietal that was used, the local environment the tea was grown in and the way the tea was processed. Unlike all other teas, Puerh is the only tea that will benefit from aging, it is said to be the red wine of China. Like good wines, terrain, soil, climate and altitude all have an influence on the growth of each individual tea tree giving each stand its own unique characteristics and value. In the past Puerh tea was sort from small areas renowned for high quality or specific desirable characteristics and these teas were reserved exclusively for emperors and heads of state as tribute teas. For more information click here to view Tea History.
Puerh Tea Shapes. Due to the rough terrain of Yunnan and the Tea Horse Road added with the difficulty of transporting by horse an efficiently packed tea was required, Puerh tea was often pressed into bricks or round flat shaped cakes, the compressed bricks of tea were then wrapped and tied into stacks of seven and enclosed into a banana trunk shell. For this reason, certain puer cakes are commonly labelled “Qi Zi Bing” or literally Seven Piece Cake and are still wrapped in the traditional way today, see picture below.
The Tea Horse Road trade route saw Puerh popularity spread over the past thousand years with horsemen transporting this tea across to Tibet, India and Russia for trade with horses, silk, silver, spice and medicine. This trade saw the rise of the great Sichuan spice markets and its famous cooking. The area of Xishuanbanna and the six famous mountains at the heart of Yunnan’s south west is the city of Puer, the base of the province’s ancient tea market, this is where “puer tea” derives its name.To view map click here for Tea Horse Road and Tea History.
Horse Road Tea Puerh ranking system, as age and quality is the main factor in cost, and the difficulty in how to differentiate each Puerh we have created a ranking system to help make this easier. Keeping in mind that there are eleven quality classes of Puerh teas, Grade one indicates that this is a tea handmade from the oldest tea plants with a homogenous quality of leaves and eleven being a plantation tea often machine processed to achieve a large output to meet market demand. Our system has been simplified based on the overall quality versus value with a 1 cup to 5 cup ranking system where 5 is best quality Puerh for the value. As our Puerh is predominately from ancient wild growing trees, handmade within the villages near where the tea is collected we consider the following when ranking, brick age, Puerh class, time of harvest, selection of leaf, harvest location and most importantly the taste. Click here to view our selection of Puerh teas.
Puerh Tea (Pu-erh tea) and Weight Loss
Puerh tea has proven evidence for weight loss and a remarkable reduction in cholesterol levels with clinical trials carried out within Europe, USA and China. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it also is known to reduce stress and lowering high blood pressure. Used for centuries and recognised as an herbal medicine by the Chinese, later becoming the everyday drink of the people, most Chinese will drink a Puerh tea just after eating any food that is heavy or greasy. The Tibetans have a diet high in animal based saturated fats without vegetables and see Puerh tea as part of an overall diet and a necessity for good health. Click here to view health benefits and research.
Puerh (Pu-erh) Tea And Health, Puerh tea has long been known for its medicinal properties and can be highly effective in reducing cholesterol levels in patients suffering from hypertension and coronary heart disease. New clinical studies point to evidence that Puerh reduces risk of cancer, promotes weight loss and amongst many other healing properties. Puerh tea contains high levels of polyphenols (flavonoids, catechins and theaflavin), which are known for their antioxidant activity. More Info
Puerh Tea types can be divided in to two groups based on the processes used in the tea preparation,Green Puerh or Raw Puerh as it is sometimes known, is made through simple sunning. The other Fermented Puerh or Ripe Puerh as it is sometimes known, is made through a process called "heating pile" where a small amount of water is added to the loose leaves and fermented within a controlled environment to achieve the desired results prior to pressing.
When to Drink Puerh. Although Green Puerh tastes great from its first year of production, generally it will benefit with time and be ready for drinking at two to three years with the best results at more than ten years. Fermented Puerh is ready to drink straight away and does not benefit as much from aging. Click here to view our selection of aged Puerh (Puerh) teas.
Strength of Flavour, Puerh is for the adventurous tea drinker and is great to convert coffee drinkers into tea drinkers. Some Puerh can be as strong as espresso. The taste is strong without a hint of the grassy-chloroform taste of regular green tea and is much milder on the stomach. Puerh can sometimes have a subtle spicy, honey to smoky to somewhat sweet taste that gains complexity with the age of Puerh bricks. Puerh tea taste and flavour can vary greatly depending on type, grade and age.Click here to view our selection of aged Puerh teas.
Because most people are only exposed to very low grade Puerh tea sold in super markets or served in Chinese restaurants most of which is not from Yunnan, Puerh earned an undeserved reputation of having an unpleasant "earthy" taste. Good Puerh teas are wonderfully complex and have an incredibly smooth mouth-feel.
The greatest fascination of Puerh tea is that the longer it is preserved, the better it tastes. Some prized Puerh teas are more than 50 years old and are very rare and highly collectable. A 300gm bar of Puerh tea which had been preserved for 60 years was auctioned for more than 10,000 RMB - $2500 in China and 20 year old broken brick pieces sell in the USA for over $80 per 100grms.
Like wine, terrain, soil, climate and altitude all have an influence on the growth of each tea tree giving each stand its own unique characteristics and value. In the past Puerh tea produced from small areas renowned for high quality or a specific desirable characteristic were reserved exclusively for royalty or heads of state.
Puerh Tea Age and quality is the main factor in its cost, so how to differentiate each Puerh becomes the key question. Keeping in mind that there are eleven quality classes of Puerh teas, Grade 1 indicates that this is a tea from the oldest tea plants with a homogenous quality of leaves. It is necessary to add that this delicacy will be appreciated only by a genuine tea expert and lover of Puerh teas, who is capable of distinguishing the differences from other teas of this category and quality, for which the act of tasting itself is not influenced by prejudices springing from the relatively high price of this tea. This is available within the market only in a limited quantity. Although our range of Puerh teas are at the upper end of the scale we can offer our Puerh at a competitive price as we directly support the tea artisans and villages where the tea is made and not the large profit driven wholesalers. Click here to view our selection of Puerh teas.