Teas of the World: Pu-erh

Japanese green tea or Chinese? What’s Keemun versus Assam?
Though Linda Louie earned her Master of Social Work and worked for the Los Angeles Superior Court, she was born and raised in Hong Kong and a life-long passion was calling. Linda is now owner of the Bana Tea Company, an online business specializing in Pu-erh tea.
Linda has studied with a renowned tea master in Hong Kong and traveled extensively through the farms and villages of the Pu-erh tea regions of Yunnan China in her quest to find the finest teas. (Official text)
Linda shares her extensive knowledge during a tea presentation and tasting at Altadena Library on May 27.
I am a lover of tea. I love the way it gives me shelter at any time and wherever I am. In the morning tea gets me off to a good start. In the evening, it helps me relax and reminds me that I am home. And during the day it provides a much-needed respite from the daily grind. It is refreshing and healthy at the same time.
I adore all types of tea, whether green, white, yellow, red, oolong or black. But my personal preference is Pu-erh tea. It has a long history and is considered by many to be the “King of Teas.” I prefer to think of it as the “Wine of Teas.” Pu-erh is what we call a “post-fermented tea.” Compressed into bricks or “cakes”, Pu-erh may be consumed fresh or it may be allowed to age and ferment for up to thirty years or more, its taste constantly improving as it becomes stronger, fuller and smoother. —Linda Louie, owner, BanaTeaCompany.com, in a letter to tea enthusiasts
Most tea doesn’t so much age as turn stale and dead. But with the right environment, and the right tea, you get something utterly unique: a drink that slinks down your throat and hugs your belly, relaxes your muscles and calms your mind. The best aged tea is medicine you want to gulp, full of bitter chocolate or stonefruit or wet, sweet soil. And for the complexity of what you’re drinking, it can cost way, way less per serving than that bottle of old Scotch.
Pu-erh, which is processed in a special way to encourage microbial fermentation after the leaves are dried, ages more dynamically than any tea out there. It does not have fans. It has junkies.
Teas of the World Saturday, May 27 at 4 p.m. Altadena Library, 600 E. Mariposa St., Altadena 91001 Free event For more info, call 1.626.798.0833 Or visit AltadenaLibrary.org
An example of Bana Tea Company’s green Mandarin ripe Pu-erh (Ganpu). Bana’s site explains that ripe Pu-erh is stuffed into the dried shell of a Mandarin orange.
“The beauty of stuffing ripe Pu-erh into a dried Green Mandarin is to allow the mellow and earthy flavor of the ripe Pu-erh to pick up and absorb the tangy citrus flavor from the Mandarin peel. A perfect pairing, this tea is sweet and tangy.”

Suggested Reading