Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh(Puer, Po Lei or Bolay) is a variety of post-fermented tea produced in Yunnan province, China. Post-fermentation is a tea production style in which the tealeaves undergo a microbial fermentation process after they are dried and rolled. This is a Chinese specialty and is sometimes referred to as dark tea. There are a few different provinces, each with a few regions, producing dark teas of different varieties. Those produced in Yunnan are generally named Pu'er, referring to the name of Pu'er county which used to be a trading post for dark tea during imperial China.

Name:Yúnnán pǔěr / 云南普洱

Region:Simao, Yunnan

Manufacture:Not oxidized, fermented

Style:Open leaf and buds

Flavor:Smoothly sweet and lingering, deep (can be woody)

Aroma:Herbaceous, penetratingly floral

Liquor:Dark, burnt umber tinged with red-orange

Brewing:Numerous short infusions at 95-100°C

Pu'er is available as loose leaf or in various compressed forms. There is also the differentiation of raw (green,shoeing) and ripened (cooked shot) types. The show type refers to those varieties that have gone through a proper post-fermentation process,while the shoeing types are those in the process of gradual darkening through exposure to the environmental elements. Certain selections from either type can be stored for maturity before consumption.That is why some are labelled with year and region of production.

Manufacture Process of Pu-erh Tea 

All types of pu'er tea are created from máochá (毛茶), a mostly unoxidized green tea processed from a "large leaf" variety of Camellia sinensis found in the mountains of southern Yunnan. Maocha can undergo ripening for several months prior to being compressed to produce ripened pu'er (also commonly known as cooked pu'er), or be directly compressed to produce raw pu'er.
Summary of pu'er processingPu'er is typically made through the following steps:

- green/raw 青普: sun fixation筛青 > rolling揉捻 > sun drying晒干
- dark/ripe
熟普: sun fixation晒青 > rolling揉捻 > piling 渥堆 > sun drying晒干
- added processes: green and dark pu'er can be compress/shaped into cakes and aged.
Ripe pu'er (
熟普) is produced in the same way as raw (青普), but with the addition step of wet piling (渥堆), a process similar to composting, just after fixation, prior to being dried.

Shapes of Pu-erh Tea

 Cake(饼)

A round, flat, disc or puck-shaped tea, the size ranges from as small as 100g to as large as 5 kg or more, with 357g, 400g, and 500g being the most common. Depending on the pressing method, the edge of the disk can be rounded or perpendicular. It is also commonly known as Qīzí bǐngchá (七子饼茶, literally "seven units cake tea") because seven of the bing are packaged together at a time for sale or transport.

Tuo or Bowl,(沱茶)

A convex knob-shaped tea, its size ranges from 3g to 3 kg or more, with 100g, 250g and 500g being the most common. The name for touch is believed to have originated from the round, top-like shape of the pressed tea or from the old tea shipping and trading route of the Tuojiang River. In ancient times, touch cakes may have had holes punched through the center so they could be tied together on a rope for easy transport.

Brick(砖茶)

A thick rectangular block of tea, usually in 100g, 250g, 500g and 1000g sizes, Zhuancha bricks are the traditional shape used for ease of transport along the ancient tea route by horse caravans.

Melon, or gold melon(金瓜)

Its shape is similar to tuóchá, but larger in size, with a much thicker body decorated with pumpkin-like stripes. This shape was created for the famous "Tribute tea" (貢茶) made expressly for the Qing Dynasty emperors from the best tea leaves of Yiwu Mountain. Larger specimens of this shape are sometimes called "human-head tea" (人頭茶), due in part to its size and shape, and because in the past it was often presented in court in a similar manner to severed heads of enemies or criminals.

The difference between raw pu-erh tea and ripe pu-erh tea

1,Raw pu-erh tea

Appearance:The main color of raw pu-erh tea is green order green. Some of them are red and yellow.White of them are Bud.

Production process:

Picking fresh leaves ->Fixation->Rolling the tea leaves->Sunning.So the tea leaves become loose pu-erh tea also named "green Maocha by sun".After the loose tea have been high-temperature steam,put it into the mold. And then shape it to be pressed tea cake or Brick or too cha.

Taste:

The taste is strong.The tea aroma is full. Theta soup is fragrance, bitter and with astringent. Good tea is bitter and can return to sweet, astringent can return to fluid.

Tea soup:

Clear yellow or golden yellow. It is brighter.

Tea leaves outlay:

The main color of tea leaves is yellow-green order green. High active its, softer.Variegated, barsand stylish. Expand the leaves outlay can be the entire leaf shape is good tea.(It is not the primary,there are difference according to different tea type and origin)

Health benefits: 

It contains a large amount of polyphenols. It is very good drinks to anti-cancer. It is very nicer you to drink pu-erh during the day. You will be very clear-headed and fell clear sense of your whole body. It also good for vascular.

2,Ripe pu-erh tea

Appearance:The main color of ripe pu-erh tea is black orreddish-brown. Some bud are dark golden. Ithaca a strong taste of ottawa heap similar to moldy. The light ferment have a taste likelongyan, and the deep ferment have a taste of stuffy wet straw mat.

production process: Picking fresh leaves ->Fixation->Rolling the tea leaves->Sunning.So the tea leaves become Production loose pu-erh tea also named "green Maocha by sun".After the loose tea been ferment quickly, sprinkler ottawa heap,  it become the loose ripe  pu-erh tea.And then put it into the mold to be steamed,the pressed ripe pu-erh tea is produced.

Taste:It is thick and sweet, and it is almost not bitter(expect Half-cooked). And it is smooth and rich mellow (New tea have slightly taste of heap).

Tea soup:Chestnut red or dark red. It is micro-translucent.

Tea leaves outlay:The tea leaves after light pile-fermented is reddish brown, and not flexible. The tea leaves after deep pile-fermented is dark brown orblack,and there are stiff and broke easily.

Health benefits:A healthy benefits on loss weight.The light pile-fermented tea contains a large number of beneficial bacteria which is very good for stomach. The deep pile-fermented pu-erh tea swarm for woman.

How to Preserve Pu-erh Tea

Good preservation of Pu-erh tea requires appropriate tools, clean environment, ventilation and light.

1, Environment for preserving pu-erh tea

Tea absorbs the smell of its surroundings easily. The surroundings must be free from strange odor. Ventilation and light are also necessary. Home-preserved Pu-erh tea should avoid being polluted by the smell of soo, cosmetics and medicine. If possible, set up a special storage room with wooden shelves.

Ventilation and light: light and air can speed up the fermentation of tea leaves and formation of the mellow fragrance and red color of Pu-erh tea liquid. But Pu-erh tea should not be exposed to strong sunlight or stored in damp and dark environment. Open windows keeps the air fresh and helps ventilation.

Natural humidification: the tea leaves only ferment at specific temperature and humidity. The tea can be placed near some water source or a humidifier to speed up its fermentation. Such methods may be used in the dry areas but not recommended.

2, Containers for preserving pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea can be preserved in broad bamboo leaves, clean bamboo or grass boxes, in cotton-paper packaging or other containers, but take care to:

Use containers that breathe, such as pottery and purple clay ware. It is better to use one container to store only one kind of tea.

Avoid strange odors. Never use plastic or glass.

3,Suggestions for selecting Pu-erh tea for storing as a collector’s item

Choose high-quality Pu-erh tea (raw tea). The following suggestions are for Pu-erh tea lovers to select Pu-erh tea as a collector’s item:

First, choose pu-erh tea of quality raw material. Quality raw material is the precondition for quality Pu-erh tea.

Second, choose special Pu-erh tea, for example wild ancient arbor tea, raw tea made of old sun-baked green crude tea leaves or tender shoots or crab pincers,etc. Such special types are relatively small in quantity, from special areas and processed technology or of rare raw materials. They are all worthy of collection and expectation.

Third, choose pu-erh tea with special memorial significance, for example memorial Pu-erh tea tailor-made for a special occasion

4, Preservation length for pu-erh tea

“the older, the more fragrant”is a catchphrase describing pu-erh tea and also its most intriguing feature. But what is its maximum storage limit, 10 years or 50 years? This is difficult even for an expert to answer. Pu-erh tea (raw tea) is more valuable as it grows “older” and is better in quality with age. But like everything, it is governed by certain laws. After full maturity,the fragrance of the tea will start to deteriorate. So “ the older, the more fragrant” would not stand good. The Jingua (golden melon) tribute tea on display at the Forbidden City is about 200 years old, and its tea liquid is said to be wonderful but the flavor is not fragrant or tasty.

There is no definite time limit for the best preservation length of Pu-erh tea. Opinions vary according to the tea quality, processing techniques, preserving environment, taste of the drinker and so on.

With pu-erh tea, does it really matter if fermentation is perfect or not? A true tea lover need not necessarily drink only the best fermented tea, rather appreciate the various types of tea.Consider “the older, the more fragrant” to be a spiritual pursuit and longing for the special taste of Pu-erh tea.

12 Famous pu-erh tea mountain

Yunnan province produces the vast majority of pure tea. Indeed, the province is the source of the tea's name, Pu'er Hani and Yi Autonomous County. Pu'er is produced in almost every county and prefecture in the province, but the most famous pure areas are known as the Six Famous Tea Mountains.

The six famous tea mountains are a group of mountains in Xishuangbanna, renowned for their climates and environments, which not only provide excellent growing conditions for pure, but also produce unique taste profiles (akin to terroir in wine) in the produced pure tea. Over the course of history, the designated mountains for the tea mountains have either been changed or listed differently

In the Qing dynasty government records for Pu'er  the oldest historically designated mountains were said to be named after six commemorative items left in the mountains by Zhuge Liang,and using the Chinese characters of the native language of the region. These mountains are all located northeast of the Lancing River (Mekong) in relatively close proximity to one another. The mountains' names, in the Standard Chinese character pronunciation are:

Gedeng (革登山): The term for "leather stirrup" (马蹬, pinyin: mǎdèng)

Mans (慢撤山): The term for "seed sowing bag" (撒袋, pinyin: sǎdài)

Mangzhi (莽枝山): The term for "copper cauldron" (铜鉧, pinyin: tóngmǔ) 

Managuan (蠻磚山): The term for iron brick" (铁砖, pinyin: tiězhuān)

Yibang(倚邦山): The term for "wooden clapper" (木梆, pinyin: mùbāng)

Yōulè (攸樂山): The term meaning "copper gong" (铜锣, pinyin: tóngluó)

Southwest of the river there are also six famous tea mountains that are lesser known from ancient times due to their isolation by the river.

They are: 

Mengsong (勐宋山):

Menghai (勐海山):

Jinghai (景迈山):

Nánnuò (南糯山): a varietal of tea grows here called zĭjuān whose buds and bud leaves have a purple hue.

Bada (巴达山):

Yōulè (攸乐山):

For various reasons, by the end of the Qing dynasty or beginning of the ROC period, tea production in these mountains dropped drastically, either due to large forest fires, over harvesting, prohibitive imperial taxes, or general neglect. To revitalize tea production in the area, the Chinese government in 1962 selected a new group of six famous tea mountains that were named based on the more important tea producing mountains at the time, including Youle mountain from the original six.

Many other areas of Yunnan also produce pure tea. Yunnan prefectures that are major producers of pure include Linking, Dehong, Simao, Xishuangbanna, and Wenshan. Other tea mountains famous in Yunnan include among others:

Bāngwēi (邦崴山)

Bānzhāng (班章): this is not a mountain but a Hani ethnicity village in the Bulang Mountains, noted for producing powerful and complex teas that are bitter with a sweet aftertaste

Yìwǔ (易武山) : perhaps the most popular tea mountain amongst collectors.

Bada(巴達山):

Wuliang:

Ail:

Jingo:

Baoshan:

Yushou:

Region is but one factor in assessing a pure tea, and pure from any region of Yunnan is as prized as any from the six famous tea mountains if it meets other criteria, such as being wild growth, hand-processed tea.