Pu-erh tea is a unique variety of tea named after the region it is produced in, which is Yunnan in China. The tea is made from the shaiqing maocha resource, which is grown using the Yunnan big leaf, a variety of tea leaves known for their distinct flavor. The tea is processed into two types: raw pu-erh tea (puerh sheng in Chinese) and ripe pu-erh tea (puerh shu in Chinese). Raw pu-erh tea is made without fermentation, whereas ripe pu-erh tea undergoes the fermentation process.
About Raw Pu-erh Tea
Raw pu-erh tea is made from tender leaves that are stored right after they are picked. It does not undergo fermentation, and therefore, does not require piling. The tea is then shaped into bricks or other shapes. Raw pu-erh tea has a stronger taste compared to ripe pu-erh tea. It has a strong fragrance, and although slightly bitter, it has a sweet aftertaste when freshly brewed. The tea has a light yellowish-green color, which mellows as it ages.
Storing Raw Pu-erh Tea
Raw pu-erh tea requires proper storage to improve its flavor over time. The tea should be stored in a clean, dry, and airy place, free from sunlight and rain.
Brewing Raw Pu-erh Tea
To brew raw pu-erh tea, it is recommended to use mineral, spring, or pure water at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. Using water that is too hot may result in a bitter taste, whereas using cooler water produces a more fragrant and sweet flavor. The recommended ratio is 3-5 grams of tea to 150ml of water. A helpful article on tea brewing can provide more guidance on the process.
Difference Between Ripe Pu-erh and Raw Pu-erh
The biggest difference between ripe pu-erh and raw pu-erh is the fermentation process. Raw pu-erh tea is stored naturally and does not undergo the fermentation process or piling. As a result, it has a stronger flavor and a distinct taste that tea lovers enjoy. Ripe pu-erh tea, on the other hand, undergoes the fermentation process, making the tea leaves tender and mellowing out its flavor. Ripe pu-erh tea is also known for its health benefits, particularly in weight loss.
Pu-erh tea is a unique tea with a distinct taste and health benefits. Whether you prefer raw or ripe pu-erh tea, proper storage and brewing techniques can help bring out the tea’s full flavor. Experimenting with both types of pu-erh tea can help you find your perfect cup of tea.