Originating in China, Pu-Er or Puerh is an ancient tradition that dates back more than 2000 years. The tea took its name from the ancient market town of Pu-Er. Back in the old days, when Pu-Er tea was transported by horse caravans from the production areas to the town of Pu-Er, the caravans had to travel through tropical rainforest. The moisture in the air caused the leaves to naturally ferment (turn moldy, perhaps?) and enriched its flavor. As people like this flavor of this naturally fermented tea, the tea producers began to introduce a fermenting process for Pu-Er. Unlike green tea which is best when the leaves are fresh, the older the Pu-Er, the better its flavour.
Pu-Er's remarkable rich taste and its vast health properties has caused a recent surge in its popularity.
This cooked Pu-Er cake is from the Bao Hui tea factory of Lancang county in Yunnan Province, southwest of China. The leaves are picked from 400 year old wild-crafted tea plants, found in this pristine mountainous area. The maturity of these rare trees makes them optimal for the fermentation process and yields a superb rich flavour.
The old wild trees and Pu-Er's special fermentation process acts on the tea to elevate levels of antioxidants (polyphenols and catechins), vitamins and other beneficial nutrients. Studies show that Pu-Er contains higher antioxidants than green tea. Pu-Er may lower cholesterol and blood pressure which can lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Pu-Er may aid in cancer prevention due to its catechin content which shows very high antioxidative capacity.