On Canada’s West Coast, we have a certain appreciation for tea. We’ve made a hobby of meandering through DavidsTea or Murchies, sniffing our way around, scoring the occasional free sample. We even derive much enjoyment from discussing the difference between various types of earl grey (Have you seen how many types of earl grey there are? So crazy!), at which time those more daring folks have been known to pull out a false British accent.
Be pretending an English accent jolly fun, it does not instantly make a person the ultimate authority on all matters of tea (However, it does still sound posh!). Don’t forget that China is the birthplace of tea! The cultural practices, ideas, and philosophies associated with tea have had 5000 years to brew. Yes, 5000 years… tea is the one of the oldest drinks on the planet. I think that even the most frequent Murchies-goer could learn a few things about the history of tea.
Puer (pronounced “poor”, alternately spelled pu-erh or pu’er) is a particularly interesting variety of tea, as it is cultivated slowly and methodically, undergoing an aging process not too different from that of fine wine (in fact, both undergo the process of fermentation!). Puer tea dates back to the Tang Dynasty,( 618AD-906AD ), when it was the favorite tea of the nobleman of this time.
Studies have been conducted on Puer beginning in the 1970’s by France, Japan and China.They have found that Puer helps reduce cholesterol, reduce body weight, reduce high blood pressure, and helps prevent intestinal infection, digestive problems and constipation.
Another thing that makes Puer tea stick out (after all, there are over three million types of tea produced worldwide each year; a tea needs to be more than just average to stick catch the attention of the media) is its high levels of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of micronutrient that are, essentially, magnificent. They provide wonderful benefits to a person’s health. Having glanced at those snazzy fruit and veggie juices in the supermarket, you are probably familiar with the word “anti-oxidants”; nutrients which lower oxidization in a person’s body. Well, polyphenols are actually a type of antioxidant. Polyphenols have also been known to help with preventing inflammatory disease, cardiovascular problems, and cancer, among other things. Hence the magnificence of polyphenols.
In China, the art of serving tea is called Kung Fu Cha. An impressive name for an impressive act. I encourage you to search up a Chinese tea-serving ceremony on youtube; the masterful dance of tea preparation might seriously catch you off guard.
If you would like to try this fantastic tea, it is on the pricier side, however you may be impressed by it’s taste and the multitudes of health benefits. Tea is a great way to start or end your day, I personally love the routine of preparing and drinking tea.