Have you ever heard of Pu-erh Tea? This dark tea is a post-fermented tea named after the city of Pu’er, in the Chinese province of Yunnan. This city, which gave its name to the famous tea, has long been an important commercial center in Ancient China.
Unlike other teas that should be consumed shortly after production, pu-erh can be stored up to 50 years (average age is between one and four years). The tea acquired during that time an earthy flavor due to fermentation. Pu-erh tea is as black as coffee in color and has a very strong taste. However, there are many kinds of Pu Erh tea being sold today. It can be purchased as either raw/green (sheng) or ripened/cooked (shu), depending on processing method or aging. Sheng pu-erh can be roughly classified on the same tea oxidation scale as a green tea, and the shou or aged-green variants as post-fermented tea.
Pu-erh is considered in China as a medicinal drink. In the Canton area, it is frequently used in a dim sum because it is deemed to aid digestion. It is sold in shops in Europe of “natural food” under the name of Yunnan tea or Tuo Cha, the argument asserts that this dark tea helps reduce cholesterol and saturated fatty acids and may help to weight loss.
In fact, drinking pu-erh tea has been credited for hundreds of years in China to reduce blood cholesterol. This belief has been backed up by scientific studies not only demonstrating experimental results of lowered LDL cholesterol in rats, but discovering specific mechanisms through which chemicals in Pu-erh tea directly inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol. The tea has been shown to have antimutagenic and antimicrobial properties as well, and it is widely believed to help “Next Day Hangovers” by stimulating the functions of the liver and kidneys.