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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Numi Puerh Tea

Numi puerh
I have become a puerh pusher. Anyone who takes so much as a whiff from my cup, ends up buying their own. I discovered puerh tea a few years ago at a wonderful tea shop, Modern Tea, run by tea expert Alice Cravens, (now sadly closed). It was served in the traditional manner in a tiny tea pot with tea broken from a cake of puerh. Not long after I purchases some loose puerh tea from Tillerman Tea in Napa. But it's the perfect-for-sampling Numi Tea tea bags that have made me go pro.

Puerh is a fermented and aged green tea that has many of the characteristics of black tea and more antioxidants than either black or green tea. It is dark and malty with rich flavor that can handle a splash of milk. Up until recently it was almost impossible to find high quality puerh tea bags. Normally I buy all my tea loose leaf, bulk, never in bags, but Numi Tea is making some fabulous puerh tea blends, available in bags. They use whole leaf tea, not dust. The convenience of tea bags has worked well for me because I am usually just drinking one cup and I often take a few bags in my purse and my suitcase.

Back in January I participated in Numi's Puerh Challenge. I didn't drink three cups a day because it's just too much caffeine for me. But I quickly added to my stash buying boxes of Magnolia Puerh and Emperor's Puerh to my favorite the Chocolate version. The Numi Chocolate Puerh tea is a blend of all organic ingredients--puerh tea, cocoa powder, vanilla, Theo chocolate cocoa nibs, rooibos, orange peel, nutmeg and cinnamon. It is such a treat! It has lovely spicy notes that pair with the mild chocolate and rich tea.

For a more delicate tea I like the floral Magnolia blend which has green tea and magnolia flowers along with the puerh. The Emperor's version is pure puerh, nothing else added. It is the most robust with toasty rich flavor, great when you feel like you want a cup of coffee. The only version I'm not crazy about is the Mint Puerh, but to each his own. Numi also sells puerh in a brick and in bulk, which is probably what I will end up purchasing next. The advantage to the brick is that a small amount of tea can be used again and again, to make up to 4 cups of tea.

Puerh is considered a very healthy tea, potentially strengthening your immune system and reducing the risk of heart attack. Other studies show tea can reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and lower blood pressure. I would love to tell you I lost weight drinking this tea, but I don't think I did. But it absolutely gets me going in the morning on those days when I need a little extra boost and the different varieties seem to fit my mood at different times of the day.