This morning’s tea comes from an ancient tea forest located in the misty Jing Mai mountain area in southwestern Yunnan province of China. The hill tribe people of this area, originally called the “Pu”, have been cultivating tea in this forest for over a thousand years. The history of their sacred tradition is documented in ancient stone relics and scrolls. This tea, harvested from a varietal of the tea plant called Camellia Sinensis Assamica, a broad leafed tree, is called Ancient Organic Green Pu-Ehr Tuo Cha tea. As you can see, the leaves have been compressed into a little bowl called a tuo cha (tea cake).
Pu-ehr teas technically start out as green tea but have a tea category all of their own because of unique processing methods. There are 2 types of Pu-ehr, raw and cooked. My morning tea is a raw Pu-ehr. The new growth, buds, are harvested from the tree and sun dried. After the buds are dry, they are heated to halt oxidation and then compressed into a bowl shape. A tradition dating back to the old caravan routes, compressing the tea into cakes makes for an easier form to transport from one place to another.
The tea liquor is the color of a white tea, having some of its delicate flavor characteristics as well. Notes of honey and fruit caress your tongue as you sip from your cup. This tea is great for multiple steepings so I can keep adding water to my teapot all day long. My first steeping was 4 minutes with 180 degree F water. I will decrease my steep time as I go along but keep the water temperature the same. Since 80% of the caffeine is extracted in the first 30 seconds, each subsequent brew will be decaffeinated.
What is your experience with Pu-ehr tea?