Friday Tea-time again and this week for our de-stressing time-out, we’re paying attention to the miraculous Pu-erh China Tea . . . from the traditional Camellia Sinensis Plant family.
Pu-erh tea, made from the green tea plant Camellia Sinensis, is distinctive because of its production process: this involves aging to further develop flavor and aroma. Because of this aging process, in China, Pu-erh tea is known as black tea and commonly sold in tea cakes, bricks, and rolls.
Pu-erh Tea Types and Characteristics
There are two types of Pu-erh tea: Sheng (raw) and Shou (ripe). Sheng tea is similar in flavor to what we know of as Green tea and is typically pressed. Shou Pu-erh is aged: Pu-erh and can be aged for the astonishingly long time of 50 years [hence the high cost of some brands]. Most aged Pu-erh begins to develop the best flavors after five to seven years. So, we have much reverence for our Pu-erh and we’re blessed when we find the good stuff!
Pu-erh tea is most commonly cultivated in the Yunnan province of China, with most tea plantations being located in the high mountains. One of the highest quality Pu-erh teas comes from the Menghai Tea Factory and is known as DaYi. This tea company is said to have created the aging process for Pu-erh teas and they supply some of the best ripe Pu-erhs.
Green Tea refresher: pun intended! | Green tea is derived from the tea plant known as Camellia Sinensis Plant family. The tea leaves are harvested, withered, and dried immediately to prevent oxidation. As a result, these tea leaves retain their natural green color and are packed with healthy plant nutrients. There’s a distinction between Chinese and Japanese Green Teas: Chinese green teas are typically roasted to prevent oxidation, which results in tea that tastes toasty.
In Japan, the Green Tea leaves are steamed during the drying process. This creates a Green Tea that is vegetal and herbaceous. This Japanese tea is a staple of tea culture throughout the country. It is integral to the tea ceremony and used in formal celebrations and hosting foreign dignitaries.
Let’s remember our history: Zen Master Eisai who established Zen in Japan in the 12th century, was responsible for bringing the tea ceremony with him from China to Japan, in yet another blending of art, culture and Zen – he brought tea seeds back with him from a journey to China where he had been searching for a Master, and planted the first tea garden on monastery grounds which eventually lead to the Tea Way: tea drinking as a Zen Art.
Green Tea is considered one of the healthiest teas in the world thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants. Green tea contains the highest amounts of EGCG among the true teas. EGCG is epigallocatechin and is a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to cancer prevention and better overall health. And let’s not forget that Green Tea drinking on a daily basis helps to “melt” health endangering belly fat!
Green Tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid found naturally in only tea plants and one type of mushroom. L-theanine slows the release of caffeine, offering a smoother and longer-lasting energy boost. Drinking Green Tea can make you feel more alert and focused, without the drop offs in energy associated with a cup of coffee: this is why I love it for its brain-boosting properties