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Pu-erh tea: Celebration of senses

Tea is the world’s most consumed beverage after water, plus this delicious drink is very healthy. The highlight of this magnificent tea is its mild aroma with a distinctive earthy flavor. Among its main highlights there are very digestive, tonic properties; it also reduces level of cholesterol, uric acid and triglycerides. It is an excellent supplement to the diets. Its protein level is low, so we can enjoy it any time of day.

Tea is of genus Camellias. It develops in exceptional features in hot and humid conditions, with temperatures from 10° to 30°. The altitude of the area largely determines the quality of the product. Darjeeling tea is of higher quality, which is determined by altitude, it receives all the nutrients with rain water, and grows more slowly.

Types of tea

Types of tea

Types of tea

Experts explain that tea is of three types:

• Green tea is that has not undergone fermentation and therefore, it possesses the least amount of protein. White tea is a variety of green, as it comes from green tea’s buds. Lu Ching or Dragon Well variety is one of the most exquisite varieties there.

• Oolong: a product that has undergone a semifermentation process. It is divided into two types: Pu-erh and pressed teas.

• Black tea: the most consumed type goes through a process that includes wilting (removes moisture to the sheet), rolling (preparing the leaf cells for fermentation), drying, and fermentation (very strong heat and high humidity are applied).

In turn, any of the three types of tea can be pure, fermented with fruit, spices or flowers or flavored (among them the Earl Grey is the most consumed, scented with bergamot lime).

The origin of Pu-erh

The origin of Pu-erh

The origin of Pu-erh

Red tea or Pu-erh has its origin in China, particularly in the region of Yunnan, which borders three countries: Burma, Laos and Vietnam. Pu-erh tea leaf can be loose or pressed. The latter was born in the ancient caravans from Yunnan region, when trading with other parts of China or Tibet. It was transported in bags on horseback. Traders were climbing on it to move and pressure, coupled with high humidity and temperature it resulted in the pressing and fermenting the tea.

The pressing is accomplished by tying cotton fabric portion around the area, and gives rise to several ways: Zuancha (brick), Jingua (melon), Bengcha (disc-shaped), Tuocha (bird’s nest) and Fangcha (squared).

Prepare a cup of tea

Prepare a cup of tea

Prepare a cup of tea

For a delicious cup with all the properties of tea it is important to follow some basic rules. First, use mineral water about 85 or 90° C, the water should not come to a boil. If pressed, it shreds with a spatula. The proportion of tea to add is 12 g per liter of water, or a teaspoon per cup and one for a pot as professionals recommend.

The ideal container for preparing the drink is Yixing or terra cotta teapots, the first known teapots, which are only manufactured in Yixing region of China, and characterized by high porosity. The leaves are infused for three minutes. It is useful to know that the same leaves of this type of tea can be infused up to three times without loss of properties or flavor.

Tea Tasting

Tea Tasting

Tea Tasting

To successfully complete a tea tasting, either Pu-erh or other type, we need, first, provide a suitable environment. In the environment in which we will conduct product testing there must prevail shades of white, light and smells that won’t distract us. The tasting should be unhurried and relaxed, allowing us to appreciate all the aroma, color and flavor.

There are three steps: first, observe the color of the tea infused, then we will smell the dry leaves and the in fused tea itself and finally we will taste it sipping to appreciate the aromatic notes of each variety.

There are specific terms for this type of product testing, both positive (mature, astringent and woody, etc.) and negative (soapy, sour, dry or muddy). Each of them gives the exact shade of each of the teas tasted.

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