Puerh (Pǔ'ěr/普洱) - Shang/Raw/5 Yr Aged

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Pu-erh Tea
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From The Hong Kong Tea Co.

A relatively young well-aged Pǔ’ěr from the Yunan Province in southern China.

Pǔ’ěr goes through a process of oxidation after dried and rolled. This fermentation process will then fall into two possible categories: Sheng (raw) or Shou (ripe).

The Sheng process involves naturally aging and maturing for years before compressed into cakes or balls. A naturally aged Pǔ’ěr will have a slightly stronger flavor than an oolong in its’ early years. A Sheng Pǔ’ěr will need to be aged upwards of five years to start developing the dense full-bodied mouth feel of a mature Pǔ’ěr. A younger Sheng Pǔ’ěr tea will have a lighter more vibrant golden-amber brew.

As Sheng Pǔ’ěr ages, the leaves are more sought after. It is like the fine-wines of the tea world. Aged Pǔ’ěr sometimes ferment for 20, 30, or even 40 years! Real Pǔ’ěr connoisseurs say you cannot replicate the flavor in a forced aging process. Not only is time important in aging Pǔ’ěr, but humidity, temperature, and overall storage is essential. Many times you may see a 15 or 20 year aged Pǔ’ěr with a hefty price tag, but a consumer will have no idea whether aging has been compromised throughout so many tentative years.

The Shou process on the other hand, uses methods to accelerate the Pǔ’ěr to mature very quickly. This allows the tea to extract a flavor profile similar to a well-aged Sheng without waiting 10 years. The results are darker and stronger, often associated with how a Pǔ’ěr brew should look.

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