types of tea
PU ERH TEA
The weirdest one
hot, DEEP black, WEIRD
Pu Erh tea is unique in its kind: it's a post-fermentated tea. Post-fermentation consists in leaving the tea in warm and wet place in order to activate this particular process. While the oxidation process in black tea is due to enzymes, here is a microbial fermentation. The color of its brew is very very dark, just look at the photo: it seems a cup of coffee instead of a tea!
Due to this different process, Pu Erh tea is the only tea which can be aged: in some auctions you can find Pu Erh tea which is more than 100 years old!
You can find this tea in different ways:
loose leaf, aged or otherwise
pressed into tile, or as in a sphere shape; aged or otherwise
Like whisky, ageing this tea requires time, so there is a particular technique, which consists in "cooking" the tea, which accelerates the process and gives results similar to the normal, slow process but in less time. This difference is showed in the name: RAW pu erh are the ones in which the process was slow, while the COOKED ones submitted this last process.
This tea tastes very very different in respect to all the other types: in china they say that it resembles "the wet earth after the rain". It is a very strange description, i know, but it suits it very well; try it to believe it!
At the first impression it could be quite shocking, but with time you can start to appreciate it. My suggestion is, as for the white tea, look for this tea at the supermarket (always twinings, it is the only brand which makes this tea available also at the supermarket with a low price), so if you like it, then go to your favorite tea shop and buy something more "cool".
Also flavored version of pu erh tea can be found, but usually they are way to hide the low quality of the tea.