Is Pu erh tea a green tea?
The simple answer is no, Pu erh tea is not green tea, but it's not so black and white either. There are different types of Pu erh, including young Sheng Pu erh, which may have some comparisons to green tea, and ripe Pu erh varieties that are darker and earthier.
Types of Pu erh tea
Pu erh tea comes in two main varieties: Sheng, or raw Pu erh, and Shou, or ripe Pu erh. Although both varieties use the same basic material, namely the leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis, the process they undergo after harvesting is very different.
Young Sheng Pu erh
Young Sheng Pu erh is often compared to green tea because of its fresh and light taste. This is because it is dried and baked to deactivate the enzymes that break down the leaf. The result is a tea that retains many of the green, vegetal flavors you would also find in a green tea. However, unlike green tea, Sheng Pu erh is often stored and aged to develop a more complex flavor.
Shou Pu erh
Shou Pu erh, on the other hand, undergoes an accelerated fermentation process that allows the tea to mature quickly. This tea has a much deeper, earthy flavor and a darker color. The flavor profile of Shou Pu erh is completely different from that of green tea, with strong earthy notes and a rich, almost syrupy texture.
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