Here's some info that we think will be interesting to read while you steep your first tea!
**We'll add links to the teas mentioned in this post on April 15th when the teas are available for sale in our online tea shop.
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 (example from a previous month)
Choco Shou Pu-erh from this month
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.
If you think in antioxidants only, then yes. Green rooibos has higher levels of antioxidants than red rooibos. This month's selection, Perles de Antilles is a uniquely flavoured green rooibos.
Back to basics for a second. Rooibos tea is a herbal tea. It's made from the Rooibos plant that grows in South America. Both green and red rooibos come from the same plant. The difference between the two is in the processing. Red rooibos is oxidized (exposed to oxygen), green rooibos is not. Instead, green rooibos is dried (halted by steaming the leaves) soon after picking so that it doesn't oxidize when exposed.
Halting the oxidation process means locking in the plants natural enzymes. In general though, both types of rooibos are chalk full of healthful properties. In addition to the high antioxidant levels, rooibos is loaded with minerals that support your health like potassium, manganese, fluoride, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and calcium. The zinc and good levels of alpha hydroxy acid makes rooibos great for healthy and clear skin. rooibos suppressed fasting glucose levels, lowers blood pressure
Drink the kind of rooibos you like better because they both have healthful properties.
Perles de Antilles makes a refreshing iced tea. You can steep it 2 ways depending on how much of a planner you are.
You've decided you want iced tea tomorrow. Perfect. You have time to make iced tea our favourite way, by cold steeping. You can use this for any type of tea and it creates a super smooth, flavourful iced tea.
Use about 1.5x the amount of tea you would per cup of hot tea. So, for 1 cup of cold water, use 1.5tsp of tea. Let's say you're making a 4 cup jug of iced tea:
- measure out 6 tsp of tea
- fill a 4 cup jug with cold, filtered water.
- put the jug in the fridge for 4-10 hours (overnight is great)
- strain out the leaves and serve!
If you have a brew in a mug filter you can pour the tea through that and into your mug. You can also get resourceful and use a strainer. Until you realize you're making enough tea to warrant buying a proper iced tea making jug.
Double Strength over ice:
If you didn't make the tea last night, no worries. You can make instant iced tea as well by boiling water and steeping a cup double strength.
- use 2 tsp of tea per cup. Steep as per the tea's steeping guidelines
- remove the leaves (if you want it sweet, add your sweetener while it's hot)
- pour over ice and enjoy!
You may be experience the effects of tannins in the Nilgiri Coonoor. Tannins are a class of natural compounds found in tea (and walnuts and grapes for wine). They are astringent and bitter. They can dry out your mouth and create a rough texture on the tongue. If you oversteep a black tea, this can get really bad. Milk and lemon cut the astringency.
Tannins are the common name for polyphenols. They're responsible for the antioxidant activities of black tea. Antioxidants are healthy!
They're created during the oxidation step in tea processing, when colourless and flavourless natural substances in the tea are transformed into colourful and astringent tannins. That's why you don't have tannins in white and green tea (little to no oxidation), but you do in black (fully oxidized). Tannins introduce structure and therefore more flavour, just like they do in wine. Our conclusion is that tannins are a good thing.
Hit me up! Leave your question in the comments below and I'll do my very best to answer them for you.
Happy sipping :)
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