Food and Travel (Singapore) - - Eating Well -

Pu-erh tea is the only truly “fer­mented” tea and is an in­cred­i­bly old type, pro­duced in China for cen­turies upon cen­turies. It usu­ally comes in the form of a tea cake or tea brick, how­ever is also avail­able as loose leaf.

It is thought that the bricks and cakes were first made for stor­age pur­poses, as com­pressed tea was much eas­ier to store, and far more com­pact. But it also added an­other ad­van­tage — it stood far less chance of be­ing blown away, a prob­lem which plagued reg­u­lar tea leaves be­ing trans­ported by cart. Due to the in­cred­i­bly long trans­port times in­volved with cart­ing tea all over China, this tea then be­gan to fer­ment, cre­at­ing the puerh tea we know to­day.

There are two types of pu-erh: sheng pu-erh (raw) and shou pu-erh (cooked). The sheng pu-erh will im­prove with age grad­u­ally whereas the shou pu-erh does not con­tinue age any fur­ther af­ter pro­cess­ing. In op­ti­mal con­di­tions (and with high-qual­ity leaves), a good pu-erh brick or cake can fer­ment for decades, with older pu-erh fetch­ing astro­nom­i­cal prices on the Chi­nese mar­ket from col­lec­tors.

Shou pu-erh tea is bold by na­ture, strong and po­tent, whereas sheng pu-erh’s brew is lighter in colour and in flavour. In these unique teas pos­si­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties for pos­i­tive choles­terol man­age­ment have been found. They con­tain a small amount of the chem­i­cal lo­vas­tatin, which is ac­tu­ally used in medicines de­signed to help con­trol bad choles­terol. Why it is con­tained in pu-erh tea and not any other type of tea is a bit of a mys­tery — the lead­ing the­ory goes that the mi­crobes in­volved in the fer­men­ta­tion process must also pro­duce this chem­i­cal as a part of their nat­u­ral bi­o­log­i­cal process from liv­ing on the tea. Fur­ther re­search con­ducted on an­i­mals has also sug­gested that the tea may help to raise “good” choles­terol in the body.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.