Recently a Puerh article from Vice garnered a few shares in online tea circles, leading to e-mails in my inbox asking about the validity of many of the claims in the article. After a cursory glance at the post, I noticed at least a half-dozen factual errors, along with several misrepresentations of the situation of Puerh in Yunnan. Not that I would expect a first time Yunnan visitor or Vice’s munchies section to be factual authorities on Puerh tea, as it is an admittedly dense topic to gloss over in a short travel log. Unfortunately, the article got a few facts wrong and Vice is a lot more widely read than my piddly little blog. Hence this post, which will try to clear up some of these Puerh misunderstandings from the Vice article quote by quote.
Archives For Tea
Articles about tea in it’s myriad styles. From aged to fresh and new. The beverage which calms and heals.
Indeed, in 2013, mate was officially declared a “national infusion” of Argentina, where an estimated 250,000 tons of herb are consumed every year. Paraguay has a National Tereré Day (tereré is a drink made with yerba mate, but it’s drunk cold). The brew is now a common sight in health stores and specialized coffee shops in the U.S.
Technically, mate is not a tea, but rather, an infusion. “Tea” refers to a drink made from the leaves of the evergreen Asian shrub camellia sinensis, whereas the leaves in mate come from Ilex paraguariensis, a shrub with small greenish-white flowers that grew especially abundant in Paraguay.
The Major Types of Tea: It’s All About Oxidation
As I explained before, black, green, and every other kind of tea are all made from the same plant. The devil’s in the details of course, but broadly speaking, the principle difference between them is how much the tea leaves are allowed to oxidize—a.k.a. brown—after they’re picked but before they’re dried, which shuts down the enzymatic process. The less a tea is oxidized, the more it tastes like the leaf itself: crisp, fresh, and green. The more it’s oxidized, the more it develops rich, dark, and malty notes that, done right, complement the leaf’s natural flavors.
A compound found in green tea may trigger a cycle that kills oral cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, according to Penn State food scientists. The research could lead to treatments for oral cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
The people I know to be true tea experts are not quick to find fault, not quick to point fingers and make snide remarks, not quick to speak. They experience tea with beginner’s mind and are open to the vast universe of differences that tea presents. That, and when they find their assumptions to be incorrect, they simply say interesting and carry on learning.
So many parallels with wine. It’s all about the flavor.