A New Tea Adventure – Pu-erh Tea 101

After reading about pu-erh teas on many wonderful blogs such as The Half-Dipper and MattCha’s Blog, I find myself very curious to learn more about these teas.

If you’re not familiar with pu-erh, it’s a type of post-fermented tea that’s generally produced in the Yunnan province. The output can be loose teas, or these beautifully compressed dark cakes which many people collect and age like fine wine.


photo credit: abstractduck

Like wine, each tea factory, field and year appears to have a unique quality which depends on its vintage. Since each individual cake is quite large and can be a substantial investment, it’s fortunate that one of the reputable Internet tea shops carrying pu-erh tea, Yunnan Sourcing, also has many sample sizes.

I sent them a note asking for recommendations on a wide variety of pu-erh teas that would be suitable for a beginner to sample ranges, and got a prompt and friendly reply from Scott.

Here’s some interesting raw and ripe teas.  Each title is linked to the product listing on our page.  Each has a sample available.  I think these would be good way to start.

Raw

2010 * Wild Tree Raw Pu-erh tea brick of Dehong

2011 Yunnan Sourcing “Ai Lao Mountain” Wild Arbor Pu-erh tea cake

2011 Yunnan Sourcing “Silver Needle Cake” Raw Pu-erh tea * 250 grams (Note: Even though Scott listed this one, I didn’t see a sample size for it — unfortunate, looks very interesting!)

2004 Hai Lang Hao “Nan Nuo Bai Hao” Raw Pu-erh tea cake * 357 grams

2010 Yunnan Sourcing “Yi Bang” Ancient Arbor Pu-erh tea cake * 250 grams

2002 Tai Lian “Kunming Tea Market Opening” Anniversary Raw tea cake

Ripe

2005 Bamboo Wrapped Brick * Ripe Pu-erh tea from Dehong

2011 Yunnan Sourcing “Man Tang Hong Number 2″ Ripe Pu-erh tea cake

1996 CNNP “Green Mark Te Ji” Ripe Pu-erh tea cake

2005 Menghai “Ba Ji Pu Bing” Ripe Pu-erh tea cake * 357 grams

2006 Hai Lang Hao “Jin Hai Lang” Ripe Pu-erh tea cake of Menghai

2003 Menghai Ripe Pu-erh Tea Brick * 250 grams

Anyone want to join in? I just completed my order today, and I’m excited to try some pu-erh teas!