What is Puer Tea?
All puer tea comes from the southwest regions of Yunnan, China. There are two types of puer tea: sheng (“raw”) puer and shu (“ripe”) puer. Raw puer is effectively a simple green tea in which can be consumed now or stored for slow changes through aging. Ripe puer is a “dark tea” that starts out as raw puer, but uses a deliberate and accelerated post-fermentation process to create a dramatic change from its original state. They are both called puer, but these two styles could not be more different.
What is Raw Puer?
Young raw puer is a simple green tea that tends to have a brisk, earthy, apricot like character with an elusive “wild” element to it that is difficult to put into words. Depending on the specific region each tea can be very different. Though aged puer gets much of the attention, the young teas are perfect to drink now and we encourage it.
What is Ripe Puer?
Ripe puer is a dark tea (meaning it has gone through a post-fermentation process) and has a dark, barnyard, leathery character that possesses zero bitterness no matter how long you steep it. Some consider it an acquired taste, but we are big fans of it. Though ripe puer will change over time, the shift will be far less dramatic than raw puer.
Want to learn more? Check out the blog post "The Thing About Puer Tea".
What does it taste like?
Puer can have an earthy, rich, and dark flavor. It can also be sweet and floral with a tingling sensation.
How do you prepare Puer?
Measure three grams* of tea to 6 oz of water. Pour 208-212 degree water over the leaves, and steep for 10-20 seconds. Pour off the water. This is called rinsing the leaves. It removes impurities and allows the leaves to begin opening. Pour in another 6 oz of 208-212 degree water, steep about 30 seconds and serve. The same leaves can be re-steeped in a similar fashion 4-8 times, perhaps adding 15-30 seconds to each steeping time.
- Many westerners prefer a stronger brew. Using the same proportions of tea and the same water temperature, Puer can be brewed almost indefinitely: five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, even 50 minutes. When Puer is steeped a long time it can become as full-bodied and dark as coffee, but it never turns bitter, acidic, or astringent. It just gets stronger, thicker, fuller, and sometimes sweeter. This is a very untraditional preparation method.
* Three grams of Puer is approximately 1 measuring teaspoon. Whether it is a loose leaf Puer or a Puer cake/brick, the quantity should be roughly the same.