Note: Latest batch does not have the half circle indentation but can still easily be broken in half by hand.
This is a 2012 aged blended ripe Pu'er tea and 2017 Chen Pi—aged tangerine peel, a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb which offers a natural citrus zest as well as medicinal benefits. Chen pi is known for its benefits to the digestive system and ability to dispel internal dampness, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-phlegm properties. By ounce, aged chen pi is worth more than gold.
These mini tea cake “discs” are from the Menghai Tea Factory, the oldest Pu’er tea factory in the world and one of the most revered makers of Pu’er tea. Also known as Dayi, meaning “Great Benefit,” Menghai Tea Factory is located in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, one of the most species-rich forest ecosystems in China (bordering Laos and Myanmar, and about 80 miles from Thailand).
These tea discs are a delicious and delightful way to drink Pu’er tea throughout the day—each disc contains two halves (“crescents”) that can be broken by hand and used separately. Each crescent is good for many servings of tea, and tea leaves can be rebrewed repeatedly throughout the course of one day.
Pu’er is an aged fermented tea from China’s Yunnan province. Not only does the fermentation process lend Pu’er its distinct flavor, it also boosts its medicinal properties—Pu’er tea is high in antioxidants, and studies show it can fight oxidative stress, promote weight loss, and regulate blood sugar. Pu’er tea also possesses anti-cancer properties. It has a lower caffeine level, less than coffee and green tea, which make it a great choice for drinking late into the day.
It’s also a highly-coveted tea with an obsessed fanbase. As one writer said, “Pu-erh, which is processed in a special way to encourage microbial fermentation after the leaves are dried, ages more dynamically than any tea out there. It does not have fans. It has junkies who buy kilos of the stuff at a time to bliss out on days-long brewing sessions, only dropping out of their highs long enough to argue over the best pu-erh blends, growing regions, and storage methods. There are grasping amateurs who buy, gift, and drink the tea to gain social status among Chinese elite.”
Pu’er has been called China’s best-kept secret for weight loss. Animal and test-tube studies show that it can help synthesize fewer new fats while burning more stored body fat. In one animal study, pu’er was also the only variety of tea capable of raising the level of good cholesterol and lowering the level of bad cholesterol.
Note: You can repeat the above steps and brew the tea leaves throughout the day until the steeps have lost their taste. Add approximately 30 seconds of steeping time longer per additional steep.
Tangerine peels may have small white or black spots on the outside - this is a natural phenomenon in the fruit and is not mold.