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Home > About Tea > Types of tea > Dark Tea or Pu-Erh

Dark Tea or Pu-Erh

This type of tea, also known as Pu Erh or dark tea, is produced using a steaming process that causes non-enzymatic fermentation, different from that of black teas.

The special feature of dark teas (a Chinese specialty named after the dark brown color of the infusion) is linked to the manufacturing method and the gaining properties this produces. They are the only teas that reputedly improve with sage.

The best known of the dark teas are the Pu Erh, produced exclusively in Yunnan from a variety of tea bush called Da Ye (“large leaves”).

Black or cooked Pu Erh teas’ fermentation is accelerated artificially for both loose and compressed. Before being rolled, the leaves undergo roasting that kills most of the enzymes. The iron pan is heated to 535°F-610°F or 280°C-320°C, then the leaves are placed and covered with straw. The straw blocks the steam from escaping and lets the leaves to be steam cooked. This is important as the leaves are old and lacks moisture. It is this stage, that the caffeine content of the leaves is reduced.

When the first rolling is done, the leaves are positioned in piles with height of about 3.3 ft. / 1m and covered with a damp cloth that will keep the humidity level at 85%. This process known as the “sweating”, lasts about 24 hours and can be repeated numerous times. The size of the piles and the length of the sweating process have important consequences with aroma (more or less enhanced) of the tea.

Dark teas are often marketed in compressed briquettes or bird’s nests and can sometimes carry huge weight when sold at the auction. 

 

             Dark tea or Pu-Erh

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