In my miso entry, I mentioned some health benefits of fermented foods. While there are many commonly eaten fermented foods (more on that in my later entries), the easiest way to add fermented foods into your diet is in the form of a beverage. Pu-Erh tea is a great fermented drink option.
Pu-Erh is one of my favorite Asian teas. Produced in the Yunnan province in southwest China, it has a strong flavor, dark color and contains less caffeine than most teas. The tea leaves are picked early, dried, then fermented for 10-20 years. As with wine, the tea’s value and flavor increases with a longer aging period.
Pu-Erh teas are prized in China for their health benefits. In addition to improving digestion, studies have shown that drinking Pu-Erh daily lowers cholesterol in patients with hyperlipidemia.
Here are a few tips for brewing Pu-Erh Tea:
- Make sure the temperature of the boiling water is around 212 degree Fahrenheit.
- Wet and rinse the tea leaves with boiling water before the first brew.
- Pu-Erh requires very short brewing time; steep each cup for only about 15-20 seconds, then remove the tea strainer.
- You can usually re-brew the same tea leaves up to 10 times.