What Is Pu Er Tea?
Pu Er is the ancient name of a large administrative area in southern Yun Nan Province, including Si Mao (renamed Pu Er in recent years) and Xi Shuang Ban Na. It was a central hub for tea trading in Yun Nan Province, so people started calling tea from this region Pu Er.
There are two distinct types of Pu Er tea, Sheng Pu (Raw Pu Er) and Shou Pu (Cooked Pu Er). Sheng Pu Er is officially a green tea, made in a classic green tea method. But its destiny can’t be more different from a typical green tea with its aging potential.
Sheng Pu offers us a unique opportunity to slow down the tea-making time and taste the dynamic changes in tea as its enzymatic metabolism develops at snail speed.
Shou Pu is made by fermenting the already made Sheng Pu with added heat and moisture to facilitate “compost” of the leaves with beneficial microbes, making it a black tea. A common misconception is that Shou Pu is an “artificially aged” Sheng Pu. This is not correct. Shou Pu is its own unique tea, and the environment that makes Shou Pu is unlikely to occur naturally.