Not only Yunnan is the origin of world's tea trees but also the reputable
native place of Pu-erh tea.
According to 'Xu Bo wu Zhi' (or 'A Sequel To Cyclopaedia Of Natural Science')
written by Li Shi in Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 A.D.), people living in the juncture
area of Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan drank Pu-erh tea as early as Tang Dynasty (61 8-907A.D.)
during which tea trade was also flourishing. Zhao Xuemin (circa 1719-1805 A.D.), a physician
and famous pharmacist of Qing Dynasty, wrote in his 'Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi' (or 'A Supplement
To The Compendium Of Materia Medica') that Pu-erh Tea (sometimes spelled "Puerh",
"Puer" or "Pu Er") was a namesake specialty of Puer Prefecture, an important
town in Yunnan province now known as Puer County. Puer is a distributing center of tea,
where as Mt. Liuchashan (Six Famous Tea Mountain) - a specific place from which Pu-erh
tea produced, is situated within the prefectural boundary of Xishuanbanna in Simao district,
renowned for its scenic mountains, mild climate, frost-free winter and spring, abundant
rainfall, nebulous ambience and fertile soil, the place is the native centre of origins
of world's tea trees.
In accordance with an ancient Dai document of Xishuanbanna, Yunnan had tea trees planting some
1,700 years ago. There is an old tea tree called the 'King of tea trees' still growing on Nannuo
Mountain in Menghai County of the same prefecture. In 1961, a large wild tea tree was discovered in
the primeval forest on Dahei Mountain of the same county, that tree is 32.1 meters high with a diameter
of 1.03m and its age was over 1,700 years old. Exuberant and verdant, it still can yield quality tea
leaves. Yunnan's favourably natural conditions are suitable for the breeding of its large-leaf tea
trees which feature early budding, strong buds, long growth period, tender leaf texture, etc. they
have become unique materials for preparing Pu-erh Tea.
Different from black tea and green tea, Pu-erh tea leaves are processed from large-leaf and dried Qingmao
tea through special fermentation, they are broad and brownish red in colour. When preparing Pu-erh,
a pleasantly mellow fragrance exudes. Pu-erh tea is in fact a rare health drink for all ages. Literati
throughout Chinese history had highly praised the beverage. Wang Yu of Song Dynasty. Zhao Xuemin of
Qing Dynasty and Cao Xueqin (author of 'Dream of the Red Mansion') had Pu-erh tea mentioned in their works.
Receiving popularity among consumers in some 20 countries and regions upon its entering into international
markets is not a fortuity for Pu-erh tea. A medical experiment conducted by a hospital in France proved
that regular consumption of the tea can apparently lower blood lipid by 13%(3 cups/day in one month).
The tea can also lower the alcoholic contents in blood. Besides, over 40% of the subjects which drink
Pu-erh Tea lose their weight for different extents obviously for people of the 40-50 age group. For
lowering lipid matters, 34% were tested with excellent result and 33% good, Triglyceride, cholesterol
and uric acid can be lowered to various levels as well. Thus, Pu-erh Tea is renowned as slimming tea
or healthy tea in Japan, Italy, Hong Kong, Macao, etc.
A clinical test conducted by Kunming Medical Institute proved that Yunnan Pu-erh Tea has a higher curative
effect than clofibrate - a medicine to cure lipemia. Same effect has been verified on lowering cholesterol
level. No side-effect occurs for regular consumption. Recent medical experiments also report that Pu-erh
Tea decoction (100g of tea to be boiled in 700m1 water and take four times a day) is bacteriostatic, especially
effective against bacillary dysentery. Therefore, regular consumption of Pu-erh Tea can prevent dysentery
too. Unlike other stimulating black teas and because of its mild nature, Pu-erh tea can cut the grease,
help digestion, promote body fluid secretion, quench thirst, invigorate the spleen and dispel alcoholic toxics.
Yunnan Pu-erh tea is available in compressed and bulk forms. Compressed teas include
Yunnan Tuo Tea and Yunnan Pu-erh Tuocha (bowl-shaped), Yunnan Qi Zi tea cakes (full-moon-shaped),
Pu-erh Square tea cakes (square-board-shaped), Pu-erh tea Bricks (rectangle-shaped), they are famous
produce for tea factories in Xiaguan, Menghai and Kunming. Bulk teas features broad, stout and brownish
red tea leaves with bright red infusion and unique mellow flavour. Dozens of Yunnan's tea factories
produce bulk Pu-reh tea and the tea is sold abroad in numerous brand names.
Pu-erh Tea's quality never fades as years go by. But, the tea must neither be placed amid substances
with peculiar smell nor in dampness. Don't keep it hermetically sealed. For drinking, use only 3-5 g
of tea leaves, add boiled water and cover the cup for about 1-3 minutes. For better taste, use spring
water and purple clay tea sets.