Pure Po’wer — Organic Grand Cru Matured Yunnan Pu-Er

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Our matured whole-leaf Pure Po'wer brings to mind the savouring of lotus-leaf wrapped rice dumplings while resting along a forest trail in autumn.  Complex yet so comforting, it exudes a heart-warming aroma that defies any strict definitions. A longer steep brings the multi-faceted tea from yellow gold to a velvety chocolate. A low-caffeine probiotic tea perfect with any meal or snacks. Delicious hot or cold.

The Story of Pure Po'wer “Pu-er”

Probably the trendiest of all Chinese teas, Pu’er (which sounds pretty much like “Pooh-Earl”) comes from ancient tea shrubs of the Assamica variety that grow in the misty luscious mountains of Yunnan in China. Prized traditionally for its wine-like potential to improve with age, Pu’er has also gained widespread fame for its probiotic and health-enhancing qualities. Legend has it that Pu’er tea might never have seen the light of day had it not been the timely prevention of a double suicide.

During Emperor Qianlong’s reign in the Qing dynasty, a well-established Yunnan tea merchant, Mr Pu (coincidentally pronounced “Pooh” but a different Chinese character from the one in Pu’er), was designated by the local authorities for the annual court tribute (federal taxes, if you prefer). One year, Mr Pu, having taken ill, entrusted his young son with the important task. The younger Mr Pu prepared several cakes of pressed tea leaves then left for the capital with the county magistrate, Mr Luo.

After three months of horseback travelling in hot, humid and rainy conditions, the pair made it to Beijing a day before they were due at court. Upon checking into an inn, young Mr Pu unwrapped a cake of tea and found, to his horror, that the precious green leaves had turned… compost brown. Lamenting that his negligence had caused dishonour to his family, the young man hung himself. Luckily the clatter of his clumsy attempt had the innkeeper and Magistrate Luo running to the room in time to save the young Pu. When the magistrate eventually saw the cake of tea, he too, plunged into suicidal despair.

The puzzled innkeeper picked up the cake and was instantly captivated by its delicious aroma, an intoxicating blend of forest scents and steamed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf. He told the two men, “You guys are out of your mind. This tea smells terrific. I can’t wait to try it.” So a jittery Junior Pu made them all the accidentally matured Pu’er tea which not only turned out to be a sweeter, richer and smoother brew than its predecessor but was also remarkably restorative and relaxing.

As the two men regained their composure while sipping the all new Pu’er, the innkeeper reasoned, “Why would you bring this great tea all the way from Yunnan and before you even offer it up, choose to kill yourselves? It wouldn’t be too late to kill yourselves after making the tribute, would it?”

So the magistrate and the young master took a gamble and luckily for posterity (i.e. us tea lovers today), Emperor Qianlong, always on the lookout for a novel tea, picked the unusual dark orange brew beckoning him and promptly proclaimed his delight. As the pair from Yunnan were first too frazzled then too stunned to invent a fancy name for his new-found favourite, the emperor named it, without much second thought, after the men’s hometown, Pu’er. And henceforth, the emperor, having lived to 87 - when the average life span back then was probably less than half of that - became Pu’er’s No.1 poster boy.