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Pu’erh Tea

January 10, 2012

Nothing gets any easier … for instance there is, and there never was any such thing as a quick cup of tea.  I can remember my father fetching drinking water by launch- a round trip of about an hour – and me having to walk a mile or two to buy a packet of tea.  Tea production and its making is still pretty time consuming. Take my favourite pu’erh tea, for example which can be bought in a little cake or a brick

Pu’erh tea grown in the mountains of Yunnam Province, China.  The leaves undergo a special fermentation; aging, steaming and compression.  This gives it a unique earthy taste which might not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea.’  However the Chinese are convinced of its healthy attributes and high prices are paid for quality vintages.

The tea brick I buy is high quality fine leaf Keemun grown in Anhwei. It has been produced in China for over 2000 years and subjected to 60 tonnes of pressure to form very decorative flat bricks

As boiling water is poured over the cake it breaks into decomposed black leaves and a very dark liquor is produced which is smooth and sweet. The tea – without milk or sugar – is enjoyed after dinner or before going to bed.  It has great digestive qualities and is thought to prevent hangovers.  And it is dubbed a slimming secret by Victoria Beckham.

Pu’erh tea is a work of art – a fine master, best placed on a mantel piece to be admired and touched like a sculpture.

They are however, not so convenient to use: the brick is rather like a clay tile and even more robust.  It has to be reduced to a fine powder before it can be brewed. A sledge hammer and a chisel –  are helpful  and then it must be  grated with a cheese grater.  The powder is then put into a tea filter and brewed as usual and the result is a really smooth rich cup of tea which is well worth the effort.

The Tea Brick has to be chipped, hacked away and scalded –sipped and enjoyed.  And then sipped again, her richness can be repeated – the leaves retain their calming attributes for many servings.  Unlike her very poor relation the packet of PG tips stored in the back of the cupboard with no love or respect and then brewed, sweeten and smoothed with milk and sugar – She is a cheap alternative with no style or lasting qualities bar the caffeine fix.

It is no wonder that the tea brick in China is considered a form of currency and the tea ceremony is still practiced regularly in some parts

The pu’erh tea is one of the best teas to have at bed time as it brings restful sleep … more likely we sleep from exhaustion this tea making and drinking Is hard work.

Glancing back to the beginning and other blogs and without wishing to be sentimental – nothing is easy or quick if it were where is the pleasure?

Both the types of Pu’erh teas I have mentioned are easily available but the suppliers I use are reliable, friendly – and their tea – is fairly priced.

For the cakes http://www.attictea.com/

And the brick http://www.algcoffee.co.uk/scripts/default.asp

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