I have just returned from a trip to China and one of the areas we visited was the Yunnan Province—home of pu’erh tea. Many people around the world love pu’erh tea, but most (Americans) have no idea what this tea is. Pu’erh is a fermented tea with processing origins dating back to the Tang Dynasty. I say “processing origins” like it was an intentionally created tea, but really it is a tea that evolved in flavor and age because of the arduous journey it endured on the backs of camels and horses—traveling to distant lands for 12 to 18 months. In the next two blogs, I am going to try to demystify what pu’erh is and what you can expect when tasting and buying pu’erh tea.
First of all, let me share my first impression after tasting pu’erh: “oooh, this is kind of like tasting dirt”. Pu’erh is very earthy and can sometimes taste like a barnyard. Believe it or not, the flavor grows on you and pretty soon you become obsessed with it. There are reported health benefits with drinking pu’erh and it is very much in demand throughout China.