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It was found that tea actually improved with age so warehousing became the practice.
In the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), Pu-Erh tea from Simao in Yunnan became a tribute tea by order of Yongzheng, the second Qing Emperor.
It is the heaping of the leaves into a pile that starts the natural enzymatic breakdown process of fermentation which creates heat and “cooks” the leaves.
This adds a highly-prized complexity, depth and smoothness to the tea different from the green variety.
Green Pu-Erh Tea has been around for centuries but the process for Black Pu-Erh Tea was first developed in 1973 and the first black Pu-Erh teas came on the market in 1975.
After processing, for both green and black varieties, the leaves are then left as loose leaves or compressed into the following sahpes: After forming, the tea is stored in warm and moist cellars which allows subtle chemical processes to further mature and mellow the tea over time.