In China, a country that 'invented' the tea, the luxury is the Pu-Erh, known as "tea of the emperors", as was formerly reserved for the nobility. At first it was taken only as a pleasant drink, and was the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) the first to use it for medicinal purposes.
The process of preparing this tea was discovered accidentally when trying to extend the conservation of green tea. Subjected to a special fermentation that was stronger, and this added new healing properties. Since then, the Pu-Erh tea is regarded as the tea of health: acting on the energies that regulate body functions and the latest scientific experiments show that due to its fermentation tea is very low in tannic acid, which means that people with sensitive stomachs can drink without problems.
While the "secret" drafting of the Pu-Erh tea has not been fully revealed, we know that its big green leaves are full on bonuses and stock caves for many years (rising to 60 years) in very specific conditions for their maturation. The color red, which acquires rest after six decades, comes from the fermentation of the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant type, also known by 'Dayeh. During this time, the leaves acquire a red hue. Fermentation, unlike green tea, is not produced by the action of enzymes, but is carried out by a virus strain that give it its particular coppery tone.
Specialists indicate that it that passes through a maturation process similar to the subsequent fermentation of wine. To differentiate the green tea and black tea, because of its increased red color (brown), Pu-Erh tea is also called red.
The healing properties of this tea, originally green, were made in the list 'China Native Products”, becoming one of the treasures of this country east.
Yunnan, where the tea red grows
Pu-Erh tea is collected in Yunnan province of southern China adjacent to Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Tibet, for millennia. Known as the "region of eternal spring" is a particularly propitious climate for the cultivation of tea, especially in mountainous regions, where rain almost methodical and warm, about 20 ° C constant and without frost makes the tea tree grows red with singular exuberance.
Those who know say that Yunnan is one of the most beautiful regions on Earth.
Yunnan is one of the largest provinces of China, covering an area of just over two thirds of the size of Spain. In this region, there are all kinds of climatic zones from tropical to alpine, with peaks over 6000 m high. Qingmao tea tree grows mainly in mountainous regions of a temperate, frost-free and regular rainfall throughout the year, but is also found at elevations of up to 2,000 m. The largest growing areas are located around the mountain Liuchashan and I'bang district in southern Yunnan.
With its unique and diverse flora, Yunnan is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Most of the medicinal plants used in traditional Chinese medicine come from the mountainous area, which is still free from industrial pollution. The high degree of effectiveness of medicinal plants in Yunnan can be explained by the strong energy that characterizes the plants in this region. Kunming, the provincial capital, with over three million inhabitants and many research institutes, is considered the center of traditional Chinese medicine, which has a growing number of followers in Europe and the United States. In the seventies a group of doctors from Kunming were first documented in clinical studies that the Pu-Erh tea can reduce cholesterol in the blood.
Yunnan, near the mountain Uuchashan, Dayeh is a tree that has more than a thousand years and which still extract tea leaves of excellent quality. These trees have very strong arms and very large leaves of bright green.
In China, tea has been grown since the Han dynasty (approximately around the year 200 BC), but there are documents that show that was drank in the year 2737 ac. The tea plant has long, oval leaves that have just pointed, they are always green and are placed alternately. The flowers have five white petals and emit a strong odor, the fruits are triangular and lignified.
The name of the red tea comes from the prefecture "Pu-Erh" in Simao district, in southern Yunnan. In Cantonese it is called 'Bolei’. There are indications that some variants were grown so that it formed a thin layer of mold, mildew comparable used in the production of some high quality cheese.
Extracted from the book "Pu-Erh Tea and Rooibos" Purti of Iona and Dr. Jörg Zittlau