Botanical Name: Camellia sinensis
- English: Pu Erh
- Unani: Chaai, Shaahi, Shaayi
- Also, known as: Arbre à Thé, Camellia sinensis, Camellia thea, Camellia theifera, Sheng pu-erh, Shou pu-erh, Té Pu-erh, Tea, Thé Pu’Er, Thé Pu-Erh, Thé Puerh, Thea bohea, Thea sinensis, Thea viridis,
Parts Used: Leaves
Camellia sinensis, it is an evergreen plant and medium sized woody shrubs. Chinese tea is a much-branched shrub of about 3 to 4 meters high with relatively small to medium leaves. Leaves are oval and pointed at the tip; usually 5-10 cm long, shiny, dark green above. Tea has been cultivated for centuries, beginning in India and China. Today, tea is the most widely-consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. It is believed to have originated somewhere in Southeast Asia and western China. Since recorded history, camellia has been taken as a tea in China. It is being cultivated since so many years now. It is still uncertain that what is exact origin pointed for the tea leaves. Pu-erh tea is made from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the same plant that is used for making green, oolong, and black teas. Though the same source plant is used, the different teas are made by using different processes. Green tea is not fermented, oolong tea is partially fermented, black tea is fully fermented, and Pu-erh tea is post-fermented. This means Pu-erh tea’s processing includes both fermentation and then prolonged storage, or “aging,” under high humidity. Pu-erh tea that is aged for a longer period of time is supposed to taste better. However, it can also smell musty or taste stale because mold and bacteria will sometimes attack the tea during the long aging process. Pu-erh tea is produced mainly in the Yunnan district in the southwestern part of China. For a tea to be called pu-erh, it must be made from the large-leaf Camellia sinensis and grown in Yunnan Province in China's southwest, where Han Chinese as well as many ethnic minorities share borders with Burma and Laos. It's one of the few teas to be designated a protected origin product by the Chinese government.
To add to the confusion in naming, Pu-Erh Tea comes in two varieties: Green - Sheng and Black- Shou, depending on how the leaves are processed. Both Green and Black varieties follow the same steps of Withering - "Kill-Green", rolling, forming, drying, steaming and shaping. The Black variety has the additional step of "Cooking" (Piling and Heaping) which is heaping the leaves in a pile to facilitate fermentation. Both varieties are then stored for aging. Pu-Erh Teas differ from other teas and derive their unique flavor by the technique of sun-drying the leaves after the rolling and forming step.
How to use:
The basic method for dried herbs and flower is, take 2-3 tablespoons of dried herb in a cup or teapot. Pour hot water over it and cover it with lid for 10-30 minutes. Hot water is needed to draw out the antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, flavonoids, and volatile oils from the botanical. Strain and squeeze out as much as liquid as possible and enjoy!
- You can sweeten your herbal tea with a bit of honey, natural fruit juice, stevia leaves powder and or licorice root powder.
- You can make ice cubes or pops by freezing tea in ice trays or pop molds.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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