Chinese Special Teas

There are certain Chinese teas that, while they are certainly considered black, green or oolong teas, really fit into a category of their own due to their unique character. The following teas truly stand out as special variations.

Pu-Er (Pu-Erh)

While often classified its own type of tea, Pu-Er is in fact a black tea, and is the most mysterious of the teas. The manufacturing process for Pu-Er is so secret than no one save the producers know how this tea is made. In fact, the death penalty was weighed against those who even trespassed in the gardens where it was produced during the Ming Dynasty. This tea is processed in a way that turns the tea moldy yet more flavorful. Interestingly, the older the Pu-Er is, the more complex and sought out it is (contrary to the way non Pu-Er teas lose their qualities over time). Some Pu-Er can be over 50 years old when consumed. Pu-Er is made from many different source teas, and due to that, the flavor of the tea may vary a great deal, however the general properties of the tea are a rich, mellow tea, with a strong smell. In China, Pe-Er is regarded as a medicinal tea, believed to aid digestion, reduce cholesterol, and possibly even cleansing the arteries of plaque (recent studies have shown).

Lapsang Souchong

Lapsang Souchong is a black tea with one large notable characteristic. The tea is dried in the smoke of a pine fire, which infuses the leaf with an incredible smoky aroma and an earthy flavor. While this may seem an odd combination, it works quite well. Originating in Mount Wuyi (specifically Puonshan), this unusual tea produces a smoky, red brew, often described as tasting like a campfire. While arguably an acquired taste, true lapsang souchong is a complex tea that can be used in blends (such as Russian caravan) or drunk on its own in a fashion particular to the preferences of the individual (Winston Churchill used to add a shot of scotch to his).

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