The most common teas consumed by Americans are green and black teas. But there’s growing interest in one of China’s premiere teas, called pu’er.
CGTN’s Karina Huber reports from New York.
Pu’er tea is a centuries’ old fermented tea grown exclusively in the forests of China’s Yunnan province.
Often compared to a fine wine, it gets better with age and can fetch more than its weight in silver.
It’s one of the only teas to be designated a protected-origin product by the Chinese government and is now a hot export.
China is the world’s leading exporter of tea. In 2016, it shipped $1.4 billion of it. The U.S. is one of its biggest markets where interest in pu’er is growing.
A shop in New York called Puerh Brooklyn specializes in this kind of tea.
Co-owner Ggrippo, said pu’er is the world’s most original tea in part because it contains micro-organisms due to the fermentation process: “That makes the plant more connected with the environment. It’s kind of like a little blueprint of where it came from.”
Tea experts said pu’er has more than mere fans. It has a cult-like following.
“People obsess about the different labels that go on it because it’s actually wrapped with paper typically, the different processing facilities. People get to really geek out on it, which isn’t always the case,” said Jordan Hardin, Co-founder of the American Specialty Tea Alliance.
Green and black teas represent the bulk of Chinese tea imports in the U.S. but experts said interest in pu’er, especially among millennials, is growing.
“I think you’re going to see more and more of it. It’s actually a really great way to get coffee drinkers into tea because it has a much richer, much darker, much earthier flavor than a lot of teas so I’ve actually converted a lot of coffee drinkers to become pu’er drinkers,” said Hardin.