Monday, 20 July 2015

Puerh in the western world

As tea drinking is getting wide acceptance in the western world as a daily ritual, people would like to find out more about Chinese tea. They often would like to try out different types of tea when they visit tea shops in the western world.

The potential health benefits and antioxidants of Chinese tea are well known among western consumers. While there are so many wonderful teas available, it is expected that puerh tea will make big wave in tea market of the western world due to active push in marketing this tea. The reasons are simple. First, it is influenced by the booming puerh trade in Asia. Second, several prominent leaders in preventive medicine talk about the health benefits from puerh in the media and this has attracted a lot of interest from people in the west.When their knowledge of puerh grow, so will their acceptance of this extraordinary tea.
Refilling the cup with hot water and pour out brewed tea

From the rich geographical and historical background to the enticing aroma from aged puerh tea (not to mention the intrinsic value), puerh provides western consumers an exciting avenue for personal enjoyment as well as a great hobby (in collecting different types of puerh). The large number of web sites on puerh by western people is evident that the tea is indeed very well received in the western world.

Western cuisines are generally high in cholesterol and adipose. This inevitably creates a market for puerh since the tea is well-known as a removal of fat and cholesterol. No wonder many tea companies are trying to position themselves for the booming business in puerh tea.

The early experience of puerh usually comes from Chinese dimsum restaurants serving customers cooked puerh tea with a distinctive nature. Some described it as ... this dark red tea has a bold, earthy flavour, the most oxidised form of tea or tea that has a unique smell and flavour. Of course consumers nowadays have had more choices of different types and grades of puerh, from a varity of tea producing mountains in Yunnan of China. Incidentally, this part of China is the only habitat for puerh trees. There are even tour agencies that organize tour to the tea producing regions of Yunnan for tea lovers. You can even make and compress your very own puerh cakes or bricks.

Unfortunately, a big problem in puerh tea is that the market is full of fake products, untruthful information and marketing tricks. For examples, cooked puerh tea is sold as vintage puerh, toucha from an  unknown source is sold as Xiaguan toucha, Guan Yuan cake of the 80s are sold as those form the 60s. Common marketing trick is to use pictures featuring young ethnic girls standing on tea trees and plucking leaves and then labeling the tea as harvested from ancient tea trees and pricey puerh delicacy. In a market like this, consumers often spend big money to buy so-called vintage puerh, and later find out that the tea is no more that fake or cooked puerh of inferior quality that has musty smell and unpleasant taste. Stories like these are not only common in the west, but all over the world. Such business activities undoubtedly undermine the future of puerh in the western world. As with any interest or hobby, especially one involving a language barrier, there will be many opportunistic vendors trying to take advantage of the uniformed. Just remember, possessing knowledge and experience will help alleviate certain worries and make collecting and drinking puerh tea enjoyable and rewarding.

Through online stores and online auctions such as ebay, consumers now have access to many newly produced puerh tea products. These tea products are a lot more transparent to the consumers as their prices from different suppliers are gradually becoming similar. Howeevr, puerh tea that is aged many years are still rare on the market. Some good quality new puerh tea can be hard to come by if the tea is from a certain puerh region/mountain. Such tea will inevitably be more expensive than the average tea. Another factor is the age of the tree, the older the tree the more sough after is the tea. For tress of 500 to 800 years old, the tea will command a good price. If the trees are wild trees grown in the forests of Yunan, the tea will be classified as wild puerh tea and this will further enhance its value.

Puerh brick in 500 g packaging

250g bricks in one box of 160 pieces

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