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Sampling pu-ehr tea

Image of a tea disk of pu-ehr tea at This House of Books, your community-owned, independent bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaI love Indian tea, particularly fully oxidized tea made from the Camellia sinensis var assamica plant. I adore the rich tastes and brisk mouth-feel of teas grown in Assam and Darjeeling. However, now I am experimenting with pu-ehr teas from the Yunnan Province of China.

I am delighted and intrigued with the subtle, earthy, vegetative flavors of pu-ehr tea. One of the delights of this tea is that one deliberately steeps the leaves multiple times, each time for two minutes. Each steeping yields a different set of flavors. It is fascinating to see how the flavors reveal themselves over time.

The subject of pu-ehr tea is deep and complex, and we will have more on this later. There are many varieties, so there is a lot to explore.

This House of Books has cakes of several pu-ehrs. Some are relatively expensive and I have frankly been unable to justify purchasing an entire cake of tea, but I have asked Gus to cut a cake into smaller, more affordable pieces. The fact that just a few grams are supposed to be steeped many times makes this tea much more economical.

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