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101 W. Marcy St
Santa Fe, NM 87501

505-795-7724

Luxury loose leaf teas, handcrafted tea blends and fine tea ware. ArtfulTea: where the ordinary experience of drinking tea becomes extraordinary.

Tea Wisdom

Filtering by Tag: pu-erh

Teas for Winter

Margaret Wack

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While tea is delicious no matter the time of year, there’s a special savor to a warm cup of tea enjoyed on a cold winter day. For the winter months, here are a few teas that are sure to keep you cozy no matter the temperature!

Solstice Spice

A spicy blend of black tea with apple, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange slices and pink pepper, Solstice Spice is a wonderful tea with a taste reminiscent of the holidays. It’s a classic spiced tea with a naturally sweet, comforting flavor.

Lapsang Souchong

A campfire in a cup! With its distinctive smoky characteristics, this organically grown Lapsang Souchong tea is deeply aromatic with a smooth, crisp character. Reminiscent of woodsmoke and even expensive cigars, this classic, rich tea fills the mouth with an unexpectedly sweet pine flavor. Lapsang also pairs well with milk and honey.

Caramel Pu-erh

With their rich, robust flavor and hearty body, pu-erh teas are a natural fit for winter. Our caramel pu-erh combines the sweet decadence of caramel with the earthiness of an aged pu-erh to create something akin to dessert in a teacup. Smooth with a naturally sweet finish, this tea is warming and thick, and is excellent with a splash of milk.

Dandy Cinnamon Purifying Pu-erh

Dandelion root, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon peel combine perfectly with pu-erh and oolong teas to create a purifying blend that also warms and restores you. This balanced blend has a delicious, rich flavor, and it offers benefits from ingredients traditionally thought to aid digestion and support health! A perfect pick-me-up if the cold weather has you feeling run-down.

Genmaicha Matcha

We've blended two traditional Japanese green teas together here, with the result being a tasty hybrid cup of tea! Genmaicha is a Japanese tea containing roasted brown rice, while matcha is a powdered green tea traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. These two teas combine together beautifully, creating a rich, toasty, earthy flavor that is creamy and slightly sweet.

Winter Forest

This green tea is a festive blend of almond and orange with a surprising pine-like flavor. Chinese sencha and Japanese bancha are combined with refreshing orange and nutty almonds for a lovely cup that will keep you warm from the outside in.

Atomic Gold

Atomic Gold is spicy and sweet, warm and soothing, while also incredibly healthful and tasty! This remarkable blend of turmeric, ginger, licorice, lemongrass and orange has a deep and satisfying flavor while also providing outstanding health benefits. It brews up a beautifully bright golden yellow, and is sure to cure your wintertime blues.

Tuscan Sun

Dreaming of summer? Our Tuscan Sun is a colorful blend of flowers, fruit and herbs reminiscent of a sunny meadow in Tuscany. The floral aromas of lavender and orange blossoms combine with the sweetness of apple, linden and melissa leaves for a relaxing, smooth herbal blend with soothing therapeutic properties.

Vanilla Rooibos

Superior quality vanilla is the secret to the smooth, rich, creamy taste of this popular flavor of rooibos. Packed with antioxidants and caffeine free, Vanilla Rooibos is satisfyingly sweet with an infectious warmth, perfect as a cup before bed. This tea is calling out for you to curl up by the fire with a good book and enjoy!

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Teas for Coffee Drinkers

Margaret Wack

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Whether you’re a coffee lover trying to kick the habit, or simply interested in switching up your daily routine, tea can be a wonderful alternative for a morning pick-me-up. More and more people are turning to tea as a soothing but stimulating way to start their day off on the right foot. Packed with antioxidants and rich in other vitamins and minerals, tea is full of health benefits, too. But with so many teas to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start! Here are just a few of the teas we recommend for coffee drinkers interested in branching out:

Indian Black Tea

Indian black teas make a great alternative to coffee, as they brew up dark and strong, have a full body, and are high in caffeine. While Chinese blacks tend to be mellower and more delicate, Indian blacks have a little bite to them, and with about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee, they still pack a punch in terms of morning energy. They are delicious taken black, or with added milk and sugar.

Our Irish Breakfast, a blend of Assam and Tanzanian teas, is a robust breakfast tea that’s sure to please those who are looking for the strength and richness of a cup of coffee, with the added benefits of tea. Irish Breakfast tea leaves are especially fine, and they brew up a strong, dark cup. Our Assam, a rich black tea grown in the Assam region of India and traditionally used in many breakfast blends, is another great option.

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh teas, like black teas, have about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee, making them another excellent candidate for a morning cup. Unlike black teas, however, pu-erh is lightly fermented, giving it a deep black color and luxurious, earthy taste and texture that’s sure to appeal to those fond of the depth and richness of good coffee. Pu-erh is sourced from the Yunnan province of China, and has a fascinating history stretching back hundreds of years.

At Artful Tea, we carry three different varieties of pu-erh. Our organic Leaf Pu-erh has a rich, mellow, earthy flavor, while our Caramel Pu-erh adds a depth of malty, nutty sweetness to its pu-erh base, and is perfect with a splash of milk. Our Dandy Cinnamon Pu-erh includes dandelion root, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon peel, and has a pleasantly tart, uplifting flavor that warms you from the inside out!

Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is a type of tea made from the leaves and stems of the holly plant ilex paraguariensis and popular throughout South America, particularly in Brazil and Argentina. Mate is high in caffeine, containing almost as much as coffee per cup. Mate is said to contribute to focus, clarity, and alertness, without the jitters that come from drinking too much coffee, making it a great alternative for those looking for a stimulant without adverse side effects. It is traditionally drunk out of a hollow gourd through a straw known as a bombilla, but can also be prepared in the same way as other teas and tisanes.

Our traditional Yerba Mate is a great option for those looking to try mate on its own, with no added ingredients. Our Nutty Mocha Mate is a rich, delicious blend of mate with chocolate and hazelnut, sure to appeal to those with a sweet tooth, while our Lively Lemony Mate is an uplifting, citrus-forward brew that’s sure to start the day off on a great note!

With these options and more to choose from, tea can be a wonderful alternative even for committed coffee drinkers, whether they’re looking to decrease their caffeine intake or simply reap the many benefits that tea has to offer!

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Pu-erh Tea

Nick Rose

Organic Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh is a fermented and aged tea, produced from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant and originating from the Yunnan province of China. A traditional Chinese tea whose cultivation history stretches back hundreds of years, pu-erh brews up a deep, dark color and has a rich, mellow, earthy flavor. Pu-erh is enjoyed by collectors and novice tea drinkers alike, and has seen a surge in popularity in recent years as more people become familiar with this unique tea.

History

Pu-erh is a type of heicha, or Chinese black tea. In China, what westerners typically refer to as black tea is called red tea, with black tea referring only to teas such as pu-erh that are fermented and aged after having undergone the oxidation process.

While the exact history of pu-erh and other heicha has been lost to time, the tea most likely has its origins in the Silk Road and other such extensive east-west trade routes. As a fermented and aged tea, pu-erh travelled well, and even improved its flavor, over the long journey it took to reach far off destinations. As such, it became a valuable trade commodity, and quickly spread throughout Asia and beyond.

The tea is named after the city of Pu-erh in Yunnan province, a famed trading post for heicha in imperial China. Bordering Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam in the southwestern part of China, Yunnan province had extensive trade ties to the west and throughout Asia during imperial times. Today, only tea originating from Yunnan province is legally allowed to be sold as pu-erh, and much of the tea is still processed in the city of Pu-erh itself!

How Pu-erh is Made

While most teas go through a process of oxidation, few are truly fermented as pu-erh and other heicha are. The tea is first harvested from a varietal of camellia sinensis known for its large leaves and grown in southwestern China. Leaves are most prized if they are picked from older, wild growing trees. Tea harvested from plants that are cultivated but have wild origins, called “wild arbor” trees, is also valuable, while tea grown from plantation bushes is less desirable. The time of harvest also affects the tea, with pu-erh of the highest quality harvested in the spring.

Harvested pu-erh is then dry-roasted in a process called “killing the green,” after which the tea is lightly bruised by rolling and rubbing, and then sun dried. While this process largely halts oxidation, a minimal amount of oxidation continues to occur as it dries, which contributes to the unique flavor and composition of pu-erh.

The tea is then fermented. Shou cha, or ripened pu-erh, undergoes an accelerated process, similar to composting, by fermenting the tea in a humid environment over a time period of months to years. Sheng cha, or raw pu-erh, undergoes a slower, traditional fermentation process, which can take years. Both forms of pu-erh can be further aged in order to continue to develop the flavor of the tea. Similar to wine, pu-erh grows in the depth and complexity of its flavor as it matures, and often increases in both rarity and price with age. Pu-erh that has been aged for many decades can sell for thousands of dollars a pound!

Pu-erh is often pressed into a variety of shapes, such as cakes, bricks, or flat squares pressed with Chinese characters. These can be decorative as well as for consumption.

Health Benefits

Pu-erh has a long history of being used in China for its medicinal benefits in traditional herbal medicine. Like other varieties of camellia sinensis, pu-erh is full of antioxidants, and has an uplifting, energizing effect thanks to its caffeine content, which is similar to black tea and about half that of a cup of coffee. The fermentation process that pu-erh undergoes produces a tea with other unique health benefits, as well. Pu-erh is often used to aid digestion, lower blood pressure, and even to help lose weight.

Pu-erh aficionados often speak of a body high that accompanies drinking this tea, which warms you from the inside out and relaxes both the body and the mind. While studies concerning the potential effects of pu-erh are still ongoing, evidence suggests that pu-erh has a wealth of health benefits even over and above other types of tea!

Preparation

If using a cake or brick of pu-erh, the leaves can be flaked off from the larger whole using a pu-erh knife. The tea should be rinsed by pouring boiling water over the tea and then quickly discarding the liquid in order to remove impurities and prepare the tea for further infusions. Boiling water is then poured over the tea to steep.

Pu-erh is often prepared in a yixing pot or gaiwan using the traditional Chinese Gongfu method. In this method, the tea is steeped in successive infusions, with the first infusions steeping only a few seconds, and later infusions steeping for several minutes. Pu-erh teas prepared in this way can be infused many times, with each successive steeping producing a mellower flavor and exposing different nuances in the taste of the tea.

If preparing in a western style teapot or cup, steep the leaves for one to five minutes before enjoying. Pu-erh prepared in this way can also be steeped several times.

Our Pu-erh

At Artful Tea, we sell high quality loose leaf pu-erh. Our organic Leaf Pu-erh is perfect for pu-erh connoisseurs as well as those looking to dive straight in to the world of fermented tea, and has a rich, mellow, earthy flavor. Our Caramel Pu-erh adds a depth of malty, nutty sweetness to its pu-erh base, and is perfect with a splash of milk as an after-dinner cup of tea or with dessert. Our Dandy Cinnamon Pu-erh includes dandelion root, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon peel, and has a pleasantly tart, uplifting flavor that warms you from the inside out. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the world of pu-erh, or simply try something new, we have just the tea for you!

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