The Teahouse on Pu-erh Corner
This is a place to discuss pu-erhs in general, share links, suggest wardrobe choices for the sipping of pu-erhs, etc.
It occurs to me that our lengthy discussion on pu-erh in the New Years Resolution area has reached the point of needing its own thread. So here is a place for Pu.
When last we left the intrepid Carolyn and PeteG in mid-puerh discussion, he had just offered this link: http://www.zhizhengtea.com/what_is_good_puer_tea.html
It is a wonderful resource. I was especially interested to learn that a fishy taste/smell is indicative of a lower quality puerh and that feeling pricking, tingling or numbing indicates pesticides on the tea.
I’m about to go for our morning constitutional. When I return, I shall dress appropriately and bring out the Imperial Concubine Aroma for my first puerh taste test.
Topic title for the win. I’m just saying.
Thank you. I don’t know what it is about Puerhs but they make me giggle and think of bad puns.
I shall have to remember to make a pu ehr the next time I’m in need of Pooh therapy. You know, on sad days where the whole world just sucks, everything always seems just a little bit brighter after I’ve watched a Pooh film for a while. Even if it’s all Disneyfied. There’s just something carefree about Pooh.
im a HUGE Disney nerd lol so i know what you mean. although my therapy films are The Lion King, The Fox and The Hound, Dumbo, and Cinderella :)
Hmmm….it’s been a while….didn’t Rabbit serve tea with “hunny” when Pooh was rumbly in his tumbly?
Kitch3ntools, I’m so with you on the Lion King and Dumbo, except Dumbo doesn’t really work as therapy for me, because I always cry when they take his mother away. I could recite large parts of the Lion King by heart at one point. :)
Gmathis, I don’t know if he did. I only have the danish version in which he offers bread with jam or hunny, and Pooh says both, but he doesn’t need any bread. :) The original language version could easily be different.
Count me in for Lion King as well. And Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid, (Though some of the scenes make me cringe.) I also like a few of the Care Bears movies, Flight of The Navigator, Neverending Story, Wizard of Oz…
Have not tried Pu-erh yet, though I do have a sample that I will be trying tomorow or Thursday. I hope I like it!
Well, my first stage of puerh enlightenment is going well. I’ve enjoyed the 2007 Imperial Concubine Aroma tea. It was quite nice and I may find myself ordering a beeng of it. But what would be the best path? I’ve read that some puerh devotees buy a beeng and put it away to age. Others apparently buy two: one to age and one to drink. If I followed the second path, how long does one age a beeng? It seems somewhat like baking a loaf of bread without any directions as to how long to bake it or at what temperature. And how does one know whether a particular puerh will even benefit from aging? Is this like wines where some wines benefit from aging and others are ruined by it?
They do not sell old Imperial Concubines on puershop.com. Otherwise I would buy old and taste it to see if it aged well.
Carolyn, you may check out on the web: Yunnan Sourcing, either by itself or Scott(yunnan sourcing on ebay.) I prefer to purchase with sites that have paypal…Scott owns both and for some additional info if you go on his own site you save 10%.
As well, you can contact puershop.com and make a request they may be able to source out the type you like….I am of the latter group…I normaly purchase two cakes, one for consumption and the other for aging that is, if the cake is raw or green-sheng. Then again, if the beeng is too young I will not normally drink it and wait. I would wait a year to two or three before you can really enjoy the suttle flavours…saying that, pry off a bit each year and test it…if you begin to enjoy then go for it…have a tea party and dress up in your finest eveningwear and I will toast you with my PJ’s on…side note: I went with my daughters to see Alvin & the Chipmunks-the squeekquel on New years day…after that I needed some Puerh!!!
You are a fount of knowledge! So far I’ve preferred the raw to the cooked puerh. The taste seems much lighter. I am on vacation this week and it is apparently going to be a tea vacation (since we were too busy to plan anything for our vacation other than drinking tea, reading books, and doing a bit of local geocaching). That will give me plenty of time to work my way through the raw and cooked puerh samples.
If you went to see Alvin & the Chipmunks I salute you. If that’s not a “Come back with your shield or on top of it” kind of moment, I don’t know what is. You definitely need some tea after that.
Enjoy your vacation and may the spirit of the tea be with you…
Humidity may be an issue…as long as you keep in well ventalated area, don’t store cooked w/uncooked, if you can, a dehumidifier works great. I live by the ocean…can’t get more humid but the climate is temperate. So far so good-the teas are holding out. There is an allure to both running and tea(puerh) I find my energy(chi) is invigorated. Although, tai chi does it for me more these days…my knees. Anyhoo, enjoy yourselves while on vacation.
It is always advisable when you first pour your hot water into your teapot allow the leaves to soak for about 20 seconds or so to rinse, pour out water and then allow the leaves to breath for a bit and then fill your pot and steep for consumption…as well, young puerh can be bitter and be mistaken as tingling-pesticides. Purchase some ripe or cooked/Shou and enjoy now…you can hold on to ripe cakes for years to come for aging if you wish.
The aging process is a difficult one, it all depends on the quality/variety of the teas, location of the plant, if the beeng was pressed in a compact way(machine press) or pressed by hand(the leaves will not be as firmly packed allowing for more air to pass thru and age quicker). As well, how the cake was initially stored and how you or I may store (away fm sun, direct heat, humid location etc,.) The best I can offer…read, read, and read, look for discussion sites about puerh and read and ask questions…locate a tea master…if one in your area…ask alot of questions. Loose puerh is very good as well and it ages well too.
In Chicago, during the brief moments I had with the tea master at Dream About Tea he told me to always do the rinse with hot water before steeping, so I have done so. Alas, there is no tea master in this area. I go to Jackson, Mississippi tomorrow, perhaps there will be a tea shop there. If not, I’ll have to wait until I’m in Chicago again.
The storage issues are something I’m going to need to think about. Memphis is a humid climate, especially in the summer.
I have several samples of cooked and raw and one largish bag of loose 2008 Nannuo Arbor Maocha that I am looking forward to brewing. So I expect to emerge from this week of sensual tea consumption with a firmer understanding of what I like and don’t.
I am telling myself that puerh appreciation is like running. Just as I don’t have to run a marathon (or even a 5K) immediately, I also don’t have to know everything about puerh instantly. As in running, the fun is in the journey not the destination. I’m very much enjoying my puerh journey and am deeply pleased that it is so intricate (and delicious) a study. Thank you for your help!
I just came across this great website that has a wonderful discussion of water temps, volume, and times for puerh teas. I thought that those of us exploring puerhs might find it useful: http://www.pu-erhteas.com/preparation-of-pu-erh-teas/
Here’s an excerpt, but visit to read the whole thing:
“While some recommend using boiling water, connoisseurs allow the water to cool back from a boil to at an infusion temperature ranging from 200 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures are generally reserved for higher quality, aged teas. Prior to infusion, the teaset is rinsed with boiling water. Then the tea is combined with the water at a rate of one ounce of water to one gram of tea.”
“one ounce of water to one gram of tea.” That’s a lot of leaf for a 6oz cup! Or are cups of pu erh traditionally smaller like premium sencha? Thanks for the info!:)
My little Yixing teapot holds only 4.5 ounces so the cups I bought to use with it are 2 ounce Bodum Pavina cups: http://tinyurl.com/ykewyax
Most of the Yixing pots are really very small (6 to 10 ounces seem to be the most common sizes) and the cup sizes seem to range from 2-6 ounces. Here is a quote from Mrs Lin’s Kitchen (which is where I bought my Dragonfly teapot):
“Traditionally, yixing tea cups were so tiny that even consuming 100 cups was considered drinking in moderation.”
While I cannot verify that cups of puerh are always small, my guess is that small cups are very common. Since puerh is such a resteeping experience, it makes sense to have small cups so that you can enjoy many resteeps.
LOL mom would absolutely kill me if I told her I drank 100 cups a day w/o clarification:)
What about pu erh teaware? There are sencha pots, what type of teaware is traditonally used for pu erh? I don’t just want to get the parameters right, I want to get the steeping vessle right.
Yixing clay pots are the traditional teapot. However, I would spend some time learning about puerhs you like before dedicating a teapot to one. Once you use a Yixing pot for one kind of tea (raw puerh, cooked puerh, dark oolong, light oolong, Assam black, etc.) you shouldn’t use it with another type of tea.
Are yixing pots a type of clay pots or are all clay pots yixing? Unfortunately I have no physical shop to buy teawear (especially clayware). Can someone please point me in a good direction online? (price point is quite a concern for me)
Yixing pots are made from a specific type of clay found only in Yixing province in China. The clay is notable because it is very elastic (which means that it forms interesting shapes easily) and the types of minerals allow a variety of colors to be produced. When fired the clay is microporous, allowing it to hold onto the flavors and oils of the teas used in it.
Other clay pots are probably just as good. The key issue is whether they are glazed inside or not. Glazed pots will not hold on to the tea flavors as well as unglazed. My understanding is that the British created a teapot called the “Brown Betty” that has continued to be available. I didn’t look for it but you might have luck there.
The cheapest Yixing pot I located was on clearance from Boulder Dunshabe Teahouse. It has their logo on it. I considered getting it since it is only $10. But in the end I opted for my beautiful Dragonfly. Here is the link to the $10 Bounder Dunshabe Teahouse teapot: http://www.boulderteahouse.com/products/116-Teahouse-Logo-Teapot-6-7-oz
My Dragonfly was $35 from Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen. She had the best prices and selection that I found in my search. For example, here is a Bamboo Steamer Basket Yixing Teapot from her shop (holds 9 ounces) for $22.55. http://www.mrslinskitchen.com/t1167.html
Once again, though, you don’t need a Yixing pot to enjoy good puerh tea. I used my glass Bodum Yoyo until I found a tea that was worthy of the Yixing.
Thanks Carolyn, I knew about glazed vs. unglazed but I didn’t know what exactly made a yixing a yixing. I’m looking at this one. http://www.lupiciausa.com/product_p/41200511.htm I just need to investigate the volume and the volume I’d prepare. I’m not really into teaware of any kind w/ a company logo on it- but that’s just me. I saw a REALLY cute one on amazon w/ a monkey on it that I have to have lol. http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Monkey-Chinese-Yixing-Teapot/dp/B0026RX6JW/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1263675052&sr=8-12
They both look like nice teapots. The monkey one seems like a fairly good price for a Yixing teapot (and very cute). I think the one from Lupicia is not a Yixing pot, but it is still very nice with good lines. I do not know anything about Taiwanese clay teapots. My suspicion is that whether or not a clay teapot is made from Yixing clay doesn’t matter that much, but I do not know enough to make a strong statement about that.
Thanks Carolyn. I’d eventually like to get 4- 2 for pu erhs (cooked/raw) and 2 for oolongs (light/dark- they’re also called black/green oolongs, right?), but I want to make sure what I get is exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve been stuck w/ purchases way too much and I’m sick of wasting money.