A PU’ER Chinese (TEA) LOVE STORY

Chinese pu’er tea:  Why I love it! As part of my overall health regime.

One guiding principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the yin yang theory.  In the natural world, there exists a balance between 2 opposing and co-existing forces and yet, they also exist in each other.  Our bodies, minds, and souls are designed the same way in that to be healthy, we need to be in harmony between these 2 bipolar states.  Yin is receptive and passive, calm and slow, embodying cold and damp qualities (when we are sleeping).  Yang is its exact opposite in aggressive and active, embodying heat, dryness, and movement (when we are awake).

One of our mission at The Chinese Soup Lady is to bring these principles into the foods and drinks we consume in order to support harmony.

How do Chinese Teas support Traditional Chinese Medicine concepts?

Chinese teas can also be defined in nature and tastes similar to other ingredients used in soups and herbal teas (and in Chinese medicine).  

Knowing this, you can:

  • Drink the teas that match your current body condition and needs
  • Mix and match according to the nature of the ingredients and strengthen the benefits of created teas
  • Integrate teas as part of your diet to balance yin and yang
  • Know the best times and conditions in which to consume teas
  • Compliment existing soup and herbal teas to optimize your balance diet

 

 

A Pu’er Love Affair

Pu’er is one of those teas that kind of fall into a wine category in that it’s got it’s own fermenting and vintaging process.  It’s even got a wide range of flavours, tastes, depths, ages, and price points!

I love how this tea starts bitter, but ends with golden after tastes.  And depending on the roast, the age, the area it’s from, the company that processed it, you get so many different flavours and end games.  And it’s truly this comfort drink I enjoy in the evenings, especially after a big meal or a long night out.

Pu’er as an ingredient:

  • is cooling in nature
  • and bitter to taste
  • It’s perfect for clearing heat
  • eliminating toxins from the body
  • aiding in sleep
  • targets the spleen and liver
  • does have a high caffeine content (which does elevate heart rate in some)

 

Generations to Generations

I love the traditions that come with Chinese tea drinking.  Most of these are passed down from generation to generation.  

My grandfather (from my mom’s side) had this beautiful traditional tea set, usually used for “kung fu” tea.  However, you can literally use this for any types of teas!  And it’s a great experience if you have guests!

I remember so vividly how my grandfather made his “kung fu” tea in Hong Kong.  He would pour boiling water in all the cups, ensuring that the temperature of the cups were hot enough and then steeping some tea, always pouring out that first steep to get rid of impurities.  And then, he’d pour out really quickly into these tiny tea cups.  We’d take them like shots.  It was highly entertaining!

This is what tea brings me.  These amazing memories and wonderful traditions that are passed down from generation to generation.

Pu’er versus other Chinese Teas

There are so many varieties of teas that even within the pu’er (aka pu’erh) families, they have their own varieties as well!

Pu’er is very different from green, red, or black tea, although it does fall into the category of darker, black teas because of it’s processing and fermenting.

There are 2 methods of processing pu’er which will yield in:

  • raw pu’er – dried and naturally fermented, partially pan-fried to stop the fermenting process, rolled, fully dried
  • cooked pu’er – picked, intentional bacteria introduction to ferment, then fired and cooked, and rolled

This is why you’ll taste different depths, char, flavours in a pu’er.  There are so many factors that it depends on such as length of fermentation, species of bacteria, cooking time and method, humidity of drying time and length, location of tea leaves, and condition of tea leaves during time of harvest.  The longer the process, the longer the fermentation, the quality of the leaves, the mixing or leaves, and the post storage life will determine the price and rarity of the pu’er blend. 

 

 

Pu’er can be purchased as loose leaf teas, which is the more modern way, or are the left over leaves.  The more traditional pu’er is found in round cakes, where they’ve been packed and dried and wrapped in paper.  It’s really quite an experience to use one of these because you literally break off what you need!  

I’ve found this really nice organic pu’er as tea bags, which are great for traveling and on the go!  You can explore it here!

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