Choco Shou is a flavoured pu-erh tea. But, what is Pu-erh?
Isn't it spelled Puerh? Pu-er? Puer? Pu'er? Pu'erh? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
Dare we call Pu-erh tea the most exotic tea in China?? You may have heard people say that tea is fermented. It's not. Usually. Pu-erh is the only tea that goes through true fermentation. Many people call the oxidation process of black tea 'fermentation', but that's another topic altogether. There are two types of pu-erh tea: Sheng pu’er (“raw” or “green”), which is not oxidized. Shou pu’er (“cooked” or “black”), which is oxidized.
Sheng pu-erh is the most prized. It is an investment – bought young and set aside to age - you wouldn't blend this with chocolate :) We can talk about Sheng later. Shou pu-erh is less expensive, but still delicious, and the type that you would normally buy to drink right away. Like any other tea, there are varying quality levels. The one we curated this month, Choco Shou, is a high quality shou pu-erh. Shou pu-erh is more approachable, less of an acquired taste, and therefore great for newbies to pu-erh.
If pu-erh intrigues you, this is the varietal that can create a life-long obsession! Just search on Instagram or Twitter and you'll find many a tea drinker with this obsession.
Pu-erh is best brewed in full rolling boil water around the 93°-100°C (200°-212°F). The same leaves can be infused many times, with each infusion revealing something different. For a flavoured pu-erh the flavour will not last the same length as the natural tea flavours. You can steep pu-erh between 2 and 5 minutes, though for Choco Shou, we recommend 3-4. As with any tea, experiment for your personal taste.