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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m a true lover of tea.  There are so many varieties but my top two that I like to drink daily are peppermint and pu erh tea.  I was first exposed to pu erh many years ago as a way of helping to digest a heavy meal.  The quality was a simple Chinese store bought brand called “Foojoy” and I remembered the smooth and easy taste.

So what is pu erh tea?  It’s a type of fermented tea produced in Yunnan Province in China.  The color of the tea is similar to black tea but the taste is different in that it’s smooth and not bitter.  The leaves are picked, dried  rolled and go through a microbial fermentation and oxidation process.  Currently there are two basic types of pu erh tea in the market, sheng “raw” and shu “ripe”.  The raw “sheng” variety has the leaves pressed into bricks/cakes, packaged and allowed to age over time. The taste of this can be described as astringent and slightly bitter.  In the shu “ripe” version, the leaves go through an accelerated fermentation process that makes the tea ready to drink without waiting for years.  The taste is very smooth and mellow.

Just recently I received my samples of aged sheng pu erh from a company called “The Essence of Tea”.  I ordered two aged shengs. A 1992 Da Ye Loose Pu erh and a 1970s Zhi Ye loose pu erh.  They even gave me a free sample of a young sheng dated 2012 which I will try & discuss later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first sample I tried is the 1970’s Zhi Ye.  The color of the dried leaves are a dark reddish brown.  I gave it a quick rinse and brewed it quickly.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe color of the tea is a nice dark golden orange color with good clarity.  The taste is smooth & very clean with a touch of earthiness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe scent was subtle but I hinted a faint dried orange smell.  As I drank this, a very relaxing feeling descended on me.  The best part of this is no caffeine rush!  It’s a very good tea for everyday drinking after meals.

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