Jesse Kornbluth, of HeadButler.com, serving you excellent tea.
Alice Waters drinks Pu-erh tea. And swears by it. “My cholesterol went down 100 points since I started drinking this,” she says. ”It was extreme.
That’s not a small endorsement. I ordered some. And opened it while we were having dinner with a friend from Texas.
It is rude to ask Texans how many acres they own or how many head of cattle are grazing there. Anyway, they don’t own acres. They own “sections.” My friend shared that her family owned … many.
My wife also has a rural childhood. She grew up on a game farm in Minnesota. Raised pigs. Prize pigs. Has a row of 4-H Club purple ribbons to prove it.
Both women took one look at the brick of tea and said the same thing.
Just so. This tea has been fermented, aged, then pressed into an inch-thick circle. It has an earthy aroma. But not unpleasantly so.
It turns out that lower cholesterol isn’t everything – it might be the smallest health claim for this tea. Pu-erh is said to promote weight loss (the health claim is that it dissolves fat cells) lower blood pressure, and calm the nerves.
“A Chinese study performed on rats and published in 2009 showed lowering of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels after the animals were fed a pu-erh tea extract, along with an increase in HDL (“good” cholesterol),” writes Andrew Weil. “We know that tea, in general, is protective against heart disease and cancer. It’s likely that pu-erh tea has similar effects.”
An Amazon reviewer finds another benefit: “I needed it for is the Theanine that is in this tea, I have an autoimmune disease that causes inner tremors and I take L-theanine to calm me down but this tea is doing that in a more natural way.
Pu-erh is one of the higher grades of tea grown in Yunnan province. A round pound costs $16.95 at Amazon, which may sound dear but is actually a terrific bargain. You break off the leaves you need, crumble them into a pot, douse them in very hot water for 30 seconds, pour off that first steep, and then brew your tea. Not for long. Three minutes will more than suffice; I prefer a minute. Bonus: you can use the leaves for as many as eight steeps. [In a Zojirushi Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug, you have a day’s supply.]
Good to the last drop? Astonishingly good. Pu-erh is never bitter. Milk and sweetener are superfluous — this is a rich brew that delivers an unusually modest caffeine hit along with a welcome hint of natural sweetness. Some Pu-erh fans say the last drop is actually the best, that the last infusions taste richer and sweeter than the first. [To order Pu-erh tea from Amazon, click here.]
Pu-erh has been around forever — in China. Here it’s just starting to be the new cool thing. Six months from now I expect Jimmy Fallon to be making cowpie jokes. Millions will laugh. Thousands will start to drink it. The last laugh? Yours.
Categories: Jesse's Book Reviews | Tags: Alice Waters, Andrew Weil, China, cholesterol, Ou-erh, tea, Yunnan provence | Comments Off on Pu-erh. You heard it here first. A year from now? It will be on the lips of many.