pu-erh tea Pu-erh definitely not poor (in value)

You can find much information on Pu-Erh (pronounced poo-ur) by Googling for "pu-erh" and most of the articles stress two attributes of this tea:  Detoxification and lowering of blood cholesterol, and at least one article which mentions about 'maintaining the elasticity' of blood vessels thus preventing artherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis.

Pu-erh is basically a probiotic-prebiotic, which means it is a natural phyto-material substance which allows friendly bacteria to proliferate on it. Pu-Erh is a process of fermenting the tea to have the certain type of friendly bacteria and thus the certain type of taste. In fact there could be at least one fungus which grows on Pu-Erh tea leaves.  One species is given the Mandarin name Qing Hua (Golden Flower or Fungus).

About the heresy regarding the caffeine in tea, the fact is that from the way tea is brewed it is always easy to discard the first brew and that takes away almost at least 50% of the caffeine content.  
Moreover, caffeine in tea leaves is not as high as from the coffee nut.

Yet it is indeed strange that very little mention is made on what makes this 'fermented' tea give a rich golden color to an infusion of its leaves.  Pu-erh is definitely a product of fermentation, slow or rapid.   As with all fermentation processes, bacterial and fungal action have to be involved, whether induced or natural.  Understanding the role of fermentation in Pu-erh is important (though most people tend to ignore this) because it will suddenly make you realise that Pu-erh is actually somewhat a probiotic.  Definitely, there exists some form of friendly microbe on the surface and inside of the Camellia Sinensis leaves which are used to make Pu-erh.

Western likingPu-erh tea is actually about probiotics

Your perspective of Pu-erh tea will drastically change when you understand that the potential 'actions' of detoxification and the healthy maintenance of blood in our bodies by imbibing Pu-erh tea are not coming only from the tea leaves per se, but from a microcosm of prebiotics (the tea leaves, fibrous material, and other concomitants) and probiotics (the bacteria and fungi which have made a 'home' in the tea leaves.   Some knowledgeable tea-drinkers will tell you that a certain class of fungi 'residing' on the Pu-Erh tea gives the golden hue to an infusion of the leaves; and thus they called it Qing Hua (Mandarin, Golden Flower) or Kum Mou (Cantonese, Golden Fungus).

In fact, the Kombucha fungus can actually be 'grown' out of an infusion of Pu-erh tea, though this 'farming' has to be carried out with stringent conditions of cleanliness in utensils and environment. Having said this, is it any wonder why Pu-erh has special attributes which cannot be rivalled by non-fermented tea.   It cannot be the tea leaves but the good fermenation that is going on in the tea leaves which make Pu-erh a prized collection.

Once you appreciate the 'fermentation' in Pu-erh, you will begin to relate Pu-erh with other types of good fermentation by friendly bacteria and fungi and even from myco-bacteria (such as Tibicos, Kombucha).  There are already many forms of good fermentated foods which are part and parcel of a healthy diet (though this is not recommended by mainstream medical science) such as yogurt, kefir, soya-sauce, chutneys, fruit enzymes, milk-kefir, sugar-water enzymes, coconut water enzymes, etc.  

In other words, the beneficial constituents of the Camellia Sinensis tea leaves cannot be the sole category of 'actives' which make Pu-erh special, and yet most scientific analysis on Pu-erh (or any other tea for that matter) focusses on the chemical constituents of the tea leaves.   Why?  Simply because from where mainstream medical science derives its premises, principles and fundamentals, it is impossible for the practitioners in mainstream medical science to look beyond the tunnel vision which their very education had designed them to be.  

Anyway, never mind how the 'modernists' pooh-pooh at the 'ancient' Chinese tea.  After all, you don't owe them your life and neither do they.  Better take care of your life with something with at least 2,000 years history.

Western likingPu-erh much sought after in the West now

Pu−erh, the unique tea from Yunnan, China is picking up momentums in oversea tea market. It was listed under the same category as black tea by many oversea tea vendors few years ago. More and more oversea tea vendors are now listing it as a distinctive category by itself. More and more foreigners come to Yunnan in searching for answers to this mystery tea.

Researchers around the world have been interested in the health benefits of Pu−erh. Various researches conducted in countries like Japan and France shows that Pu−erh has the effects of lowering cholesterol, lowering blood fat, lowering blood pressure, lowering weight, etc. Pu−erh has been called "Beauty Tea", "Slim Tea", and "Longevity Tea" in countries like Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, and France.

Comparing to other teas, Pu−erh has more complicated tastes. This may largely be due to the fact that Pu−erh has some life forms, i.e. friendly microbes. Just like all fermented edible foods, the taste of a Pu−erh develops slowly with aging. And any change in its storage environment can change the path of the development; and that means the wrong storage conditions will destroy the quality of the Pu-erh.

Pu−erh is one of the 10 famous teas in China. High quality Pu−erh demands a premium price in China, and barely makes its way to oversea market. Low quality Pu−erh that makes to oversea massive tea market painted a damaging image of Pu−erh. Most of those low quality Pu−erh have poor tastes, or simply undrinkable. Luckily, with the increasing globalization, many overseas tea drinkers start to have access to higher quality Pu−erh, and realize the wonders of Pu−erh.  

(Source: http://www.cyber-spy.com/ebooks/ebooks/Puerh-Tea-is-IN-%28ebook%29.pdf)


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