Pu-erh (Poo-Air), sometimes spelled “Puerh” or “Puer,” is a fermented tea from Eastern China. Although some have assumed this tea to be a black tea due to it’s dark color and rich flavor, it is category unto itself. Unlike other teas, high grade Pu-erh is sold in “cakes” and actually increases in value as it ages.
According to Chan Kam Pong, author of “First Step to Chinese Puerh Tea,” Tibetans first started drinking Pu-erh during the Tang Dynasty for its health benefits, namely its help with vitamin and mineral absorption. Named “Puerh” after Puerh City where many teas were traded, Pong says, “Chinese Puerh tea is one of the most famous teas among the top ten Chinese teas.”
Despite it’s long history and fame in China, Pu-erh tea has only recently gained popularity in Western culture for it’s many heath benefits. According to the Dr. Oz Show, drinking two cups of Pu-erh in the morning can “shrink fat cells.” (View video here) Other studies have shown that Pu-erh may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by diminishing bad cholesterol. Because it is a relatively new item on the health food market, there are still many studies to come.
One thing is certain: Pu-erh has special place among tea varieties. Its smooth, never bitter, flavor and amazing history will have us sipping Pu-erh for years to come.
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