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Alongside dozens of organic teas from around the world, we at The Naked Leaf are happy to boast one of the largest pu-erh selections in Calgary. Comparable to scotch whiskies, this tea is culturally specific to a province of China and known for the complexity it develops as it ages. Pu-erh (sometimes written as ‘pu-er’ or ‘puer’) is best known for its earthy scent, full-bodied flavour, and its ability to be steeped upwards of a dozen times. As the seasons shift and the furnaces start to kick in, you won’t find a better tea to last you through a snow day.

One of the first things you will notice about pu-erh tea is its shape. While most of the teas are packed to look like a disc (such as our Wild Arbour Braid Cake), they also come in the shape of mushrooms or small coins. These discs, popularly known as “cakes”, have a history reaching as far back as trade along the Silk Road. In the transportation of tea over great distances, leaves would crumble to dust in the cloth bags they were carried in, but by molding the tea leaves into these stackable cakes they held their shape and could be easily traded in measurable quantities. An important development took place when old cakes were compared to new: the cakes that had matured along the route developed richer, deeper flavours than their younger counterparts. It seemed that the longer a cake sat to age, the darker a cup of tea it would brew. This aging method gives us tea commonly known as “raw” or “sheng” pu-erh. 

On the other end of the spectrum we have “ripe” or “shou” pu-erh. This method is far less ancient than its counterpart, having been introduced to tea producing factories in the 1970s. Through the introduction of moisture to packed teas, a rapid fermentation process takes place, simulating the affect that age has on a raw pu-erh cake. Since it is essentially skipping the aging process, ripe pu-erh is cheaper in price and usually made with a lower quality tea-leaf. That being said, this kind of pu-erh is still revered and coveted for its woody, petrichor (the smell of the earth after the rain) taste. 

Generally, pu-erh is prepared with a 7 gram chunk of tea in a 100ml brewing vessel called a “gaiwan,” which allows the brewer to do multiple short infusions one after the other. By adding 5 seconds every steep, a tea can last you all day. Each new infusion of the tea opens up in flavour and complexity. If you don’t have that small of a brewing vessel, any other kind will work, just make sure you adjust the amount of tea you’re using accordingly! Pull off layers of your cake with a knife (such as our Pu’erh picks) to minimize any breaking of the leaves that will give you an astringent flavour. If the tea is too weak, add more leaf. If it is too strong, shorten the steep time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the cup with a whole lot of history.

If you have any questions, we are always happy to answer them! Send us an email at info@thenakedleaf, direct message us on Instagram @nakedleaf, or stop by the store.

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We are thrilled to be able to offer Silver Teakettles made from 990 grade silver. (That is more pure than sterling silver.) These handcrafted beauties were produced from Master craftsmen in China and come with a Certification of Authenticity.

Using Silver kettles to boil your water create a water quality that  is light and fresh. While the water can be used for all hot beverages, it can be particularly good for your lightly oxidised teas such as white tea, green teas, the lighter oolongs like an Iron Goddess and raw young pu-erh tea. In contrast, the Japanese cast iron kettles that we carry and have featured in the past, can produce water that is heavier with more body and  can benefit oxidised teas such as darker oolongs, black teas and the aged pu-erh tea. 
Silver has been is use for thousands of years, originally for decorative uses, jewelry and for monetary use. Today, Silver is used for a  great many scientific and health reasons. Regarding water, silver is used in purification systems to prevent bacteria and algae from developing. According to Wikipidia, the silver catalyzes oxygen and sanitizes the water, replacing chlorination. Silver ions are added to water purification systems in hospitals, community water systems, pools and spas, displacing chlorination.

Here are some interesting facts about silver taken from the Quora website:

  • The Greeks used silver vessels to keep water and other liquids fresh. The writings of Herodotus, the Greek philosopher and historian, date the use of silver to before the birth of Christ.
  • The Roman Empire stored wine in silver urns to prevent spoilage.
  • The use of silver is mentioned in ancient Egyptian writings.
  • In the Middle Ages, silverware protected the wealthy from the full brunt of the plague.
  • Before the advent of modern germicides and antibiotics, it was known that disease-causing pathogens could not survive in the presence of silver. Consequently, silver was used in dishware, drinking vessels and eating utensils.
  • In particular, the wealthy stored and ate their food from silver vessels to keep bacteria from growing.
  • The Chinese emperors and their courts ate with silver chopsticks.
  • The Druids have left evidence of their use of silver.
  • Settlers in the Australian outback suspend silverware in their water tanks to retard spoilage.
  • Pioneers trekking across the American West found that if they placed silver or copper coins in their casks of drinking water, it kept the water safe from bacteria, algae, etc.
  • All along the frontier, silver dollars were put in milk to keep it fresh. Some of us remember our grandparents doing the same.
  • Silver leaf was used to combat infection in wounds sustained by troops during World War I.
  • Prior to the introduction of antibiotics, Colloidal Silver was used widely in hospitals and has been known as a bactericide for at least 1200 years.
  • In the early 1800s, doctors used silver sutures in surgical wounds with very successful results.
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With the hot weather upon us, The Naked Leaf has a great selection of teas that are perfect for cooling off. Unlike coffee, tea hydrates the body, keeping you alert and healthy in the heat. We can even give you some advice on the best way to make iced teas!

Some favorite teas this summer are: Lychee, Cherry, Blueberry-Pomegranate, Red Jade 18 and Blueberry Rooibos. We have plenty more from which to choose!

We also recommend the Cold Brew Iced Tea maker. This is the PERFECT way to make great iced tea EVERY time. Because the tea is never heated, it can not be over-steeped, therefore never getting bitter. One of our best selling items.

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