Feeling lucky? If not, you might want to open up and enjoy one of our pu-erh packed mandarins. Let us explain. In some parts of China, a popular custom is to give oranges as a gift on special occasions. The reason is that in Chinese, the word for orange sounds like “Ji” which means “good luck.” Tea itself is also lucky. It was discovered purely by luck when some leaves from a tea tree fell into a pot of boiling water thousands of years ago. In our humble opinion, it would follow that these two ingredients packed together, as they are in Xantou Mandarin Black Pu-erh, produce a potent symbol of luck and delectable flavor! (Have we piqued your interest? Are you thirsting to know more about this unique tea? Well, you’re in luck because we’re going to tell you all about it.)
Where was black pu-erh developed? Good question. While the exact origins of most Chinese pu-erh teas have been lost to the mists of time and place, the origin of black pu-erh can be pinpointed directly to the Kunming Tea Factory in the year 1972. In that year, the government of China, seeking to broaden its economic base, mandated that the Kunming factory develop a new, delicious tea that could be widely marketed. Drawing on centuries of experience, the tea masters of Kunming determined that a black pu-erh was the ticket. (They were right, to this day black pu-erh is the world’s top selling variety.)
What makes black pu-erh tea different from other black teas? Great question. The answer is real fermentation and aging. Black pu-erh undergoes a fermentation process in which the tea is processed and stored for a set period of time without being dried completely. The tea is usually either buried in the ground, stored in caves or under damp heavy tarps. Fermenting over time imparts the earthy character typical of most pu-erh teas.
OK. So why pack the tea in mandarin oranges? And here we have the best question of them all. One of the things you’ll notice about this tea when you brew it is the absence of the heavy musty flavor characteristic of traditional pu-erh. Certainly this character is still there but it is layered beneath sweet notes of citrus, the result of being packed in the orange before fermentation. As tea ages it absorbs the flavor of the peel.
(Note. The orange peel is flash dried under high heat to sterilize kill off any microorganisms that may be present. Now lucky you, the best part, brewing a cup of this wonderful brew. Enjoy!