Puerh· known as ‘detox tea’ and for its outstanding health benefits
Pu-erh’s difference in flavor comes from an additional step in processing. After picking the leaves, the tea maker either creates a green or a black tea. Once that is done, a special micro-fermentation agent is added. This remains a state secret that is as closely guarded today as it was under the Ming Dynasty -- back then the punishment for divulging tea secrets was death. Once this fermentation has been accomplished the leaves are then often packed or steamed and pressed into bricks, called toucha (small, single-serving pellets), or cakes. Because of the additional processing step to the leaves, these teas are also the only ones that improve with age. Some prized pu-erh teas can be over 50 years old. There are stores in Taipei, Taiwan, that specialize in selling only pu-erh teas and the range -- in style, quality, and price -- is astounding. People will pay thousands of dollars for rare pu-erh teas that are 30 years old and up.