Winter is coming and the holidays are a splendid time to drink tea and keep warm. Other tea drinkers are tucking into their western brewed spiced chais in the winter. Meanwhile, there is an endless catalog of warming, energizing, and naturally festive teas that you can gongfu brew. Gongfu style lends itself toward sharing with others, so grab your tea pitcher and start pouring.
Tea is hot, but there are teas that give a warming body sensation beyond physical temperature. This theory draws from Traditional Chinese Medicine that dark Puer teas are yang, which is warming to a colder body disposition. Thus, ripe Puer and aged raw Puer have an internal heating blanket quality sometimes referred to as "body sensation". Whether or not you subscribe to the Chinese medicinal ideas, ripe Puer tea tends to give most people a soothing, warm feeling. Most ripe Puer tea has this warming body feeling. Results may vary on whether you feel warm beyond the hot liquid, so pay attention to how your body feels as you drink ripe Puerh.
Are you getting a hefty dose of holiday home cooking or heavy holiday meals? You may be looking for a tea that counters the rich and oily foods eaten during the winter and holiday festivities. Ripe Puer, aged white tea, and Chenpi mandarin orange Ripe Puerh are great candidates to neutralize full stomachs and relax. Ripe Puerh’s fermentation cuts through greasy foods and warms the stomach. Chenpi mandarin orange ripe Puerh and aged white tea have Traditional Chinese Medicine roots as a digestion helper. We deep dive more into this topic in our What teas for an Upset Stomach post.
With cold weather, you may need a more extra pep in your step to get going in the mornings. Black teas are high in caffeine and can be hearty with a rich malty flavor. 2021 Builders is robust black tea roasted in an open flame in bamboo, making for a powerful hit of caffeine. Brisk and bitter black tea or even raw Puerh can provide a jolt of energy out of sheer flavor potency.
Many consider classic Winter tea flavors as various spiced chais, chocolate peppermint, and apple cider. You can have that festive flavor that is naturally present in teas without added spices, fruit, or candy.
One festive flavor is classic orange chocolate. Chenpi mandarin orange ripe Puerh capture both the citrus and the smooth dark tea profile. Aged white tea can taste honey, spice, medicinal, dried fruit, and date flavors. The older the white tea, the darker, more medicinal, and richer tasting the tea gets.
Black tea, more notably the range of Lapsang Souchong, has an assortment of flavors from chocolate, yams, smoke, and peat. Heicha is a wild card for the more adventurous drinker. 2021 Anhua Tianjian has a spice, tobacco, and syrup quality.
Some Ripe Puerh has a molasses and baked goods flavor, like our 2022 Gingerbread Man, which has a festive wrapper to boot. Look for ripe Puerh described to have sweet, chocolate, creamy, or dried fruit flavors. Or if peaty and whisky flavors feel more festive to you, there are teas such as our 2022 Camphornought. Ripe Puerh is a triple-duty tea that warms the body, helps digest a heavy meal, and tastes festive, resulting in the ultimate winter tea.
Oolong or wulong is a broad category of teas, in the spectrum between green and black tea, that originate in China. What sets oolong apart is that it can be processed with various different oxidation and roasting levels. The unique variations in the process to produce oolong create a wide array of flavors and sensations. Oolong can taste fresh, green, floral, fruity, roasted, woody, nutty, or honey-sweet, so this is a type of tea that can appeal to virtually all taste buds. Different tea plant varietals, seasons, styles, and regional terroir also influence flavor.
Shou Puer tea, also called ripe Puer, is a post-fermented tea from Yunnan province, China. Made usingraw Puer tea as the base material, the pile fermentation process transforms this green caterpillar into a magnificent dark butterfly. Or at least that’s how we look at it.
In this guide, you'll learn the history of shou Puer, how it's made, how to find and appreciate high-quality cakes, and more.