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PuErh Tea Types

PuErh Tea Types

What is puer tea? PuEr has two distinct categories, Sheng 生 & Shu 熟 (Shou) PuEr. Sheng PuEr translated means raw or green PuEr, whereas shu/shou can be translated as cooked or ripe. Due to it's leaf colour sometime people refer to Shu PuEr as black or Dark PuEr.

Sheng PuErh production is the tradition method, it was not until the late 1960's and early 1970's that the China Tea Corporation began production of Shu PuErh.


PuEr Tea Production

Sheng PuEr Tea 生普洱茶 production has evolved over centuries, potentially millennia and many of processed may have arisen by chance. Sheng PuEr, like many Dark teas is well suited to post fermentation. A naturally process which combines bacterial and fungal fermentation which potentially occurs over decades during which time numerous factors may influence the ultimate outcome.

The raw tea leaf, which traditionally receives very little processing beyond wilting and drying, is commonly pressed in tightly packed forms. There is a lot of different views on how and when these teas should be enjoyed. Traditionally the local ethnic groups would drink them fresh and as such not store for long periods, however many modern consumers believe the teas should be kept and stored ideally for at least 3 years before drinking.

Both Raw and Ripe Puerh tea use a type of finished leaf, mao cha (毛茶), as base material; the only difference being that once leaving the mountain, Ripe Puerh consists of a the second stage production (artificial fermentation), whereas Raw Puerh is merely sorted, compressed and packaged.

Puer Mao Cha Sun Drying in Pa Sha Village, Yun Nan Puer Mao Cha Sun Drying in Pa Sha Village.

Shu or Shou PuEr 熟普洱 is the result of a relatively modern process in which research begun on in the late 1960's. Shu PuEr production requires the raw leaf to be ripened using a controlled process which encourages bacterial and fungal fermentation. The processes is controlled by varying the ambient temperature along with the humidity.

PuErh Tea Forms

PuEr Tea comes packed or pressed in many shapes and sizes/weights. This traditional evolved as a way convenient storage, transportation and exchange.

Pressed tea has been for centuries an effective medium of exchange. Tea often was pressed with a hole in the middle in order that could be strung together, thereby making the tea easily divisible and able to be used as 'Tea Money'.
One of the most common forms over the last century, Qi Zi Bing PuEr (七子饼普洱茶 qī zǐ bǐng pǔ​'ěr​ ch), are pressed as 357g cakes, approximately 7 liǎng (两: also known historically as a tael, which in modern times is equivillant to 50g). Qī Zǐ Bǐng Bing literally means, 'seven sons', the name derives from the fact that there are 7 cakes packed in a '桶 tǒng'. Each tong weighs 2.5kg and is wrapped in dried bamboo leaves and bound. A tong is in turn bound with bamboo straps in a jin (间距 jin j) usually which consists of 6 or 12 Tongs.

Other forms of PuEr tea include, Zhuan (砖), or bricks; m ​gū​ zhung (蘑菇状), mushroom shape; Tuo (沱茶), bird's nest; Yuan Zhu Zhuang, column; Gua Zhuang, melon (these are often stacked in ever smaller sizes up to the high of a person!), along with a diverse range of impressively pressed tea in the form of pictures include some that are several metres in length and/or height! The Melon, or Golden Mellon (jīn ​guā 金瓜), is commonly associated with the Tribute (贡茶 gng ​ch) teas given to the emperors of the Qing Dynasty period.

Wild and Ancient Tea Tree PuErh Tea Leaf

Higher quality and sort after PuEr teas come from tea trees can be reputedly thousands of years old. Many regions claim to have tea trees that are a thousand to two thousand years old. Our Yunnan & Sichuan gallery has pictures of a wild tea tree that is believed to be a thousand years old, surrounded by semi wild tea trees originally cultivated during the Song dynasty over five hundred years ago. You will find varying definitations of old trees and ancient trees in China and overseas. There is no official definition of these terms and so the usage and application of them are very inconsistent. Loosely, those over fifty-sixty to seventy years old are often referred to as old tree 老树 and those more than hundred or two hundred years old are known as Gu Shu 古树 (ancient tree).

Cha Wang Shu Ancient Tea Tree in He Kai village Cha Wang Shu Ancient Tea Tree 'king' in He Kai village tea garden.

Those tea trees which are genuinely wild, which there are relatively few, are referred to as Ye Shu 野树 (wild tree). PuEr tea that is solely from these types of teas is becoming increasingly difficult to come by and it is important to remember this when buying. More often than not PuEr tea labelled as such is mixed with younger leaves from tea bushes. Furthermore because of the increasing demand, there are a considerable number of forged teas being produced in GuangDong, FuJian and other tea producing regions.

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Gao Shan Ancient Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2016 (Complete Cake)

Gao Shan Ancient Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2016 (Complete Cake)

YiWu ancient tea tree puer. Superb raw puer tea that captures the delicate yet complex nature of the YiWu region teas.

Weight:200g Price£58.00
New Product

Gong Ting Ripe Shu PuEr (2003)

Gong Ting Ripe Shu PuEr (2003)

Shu PuEr Tea. 2003 aged Shu PuEr at a perfect age to enjoy. Cha Zhuan tea brick Puer.

Weight:50g Price£10.00

Gong Ting Shu PuEr (2008)

Gong Ting Shu PuEr (2008)

Shu PuEr Tea. 2008 aged Shu PuEr - Ripe and ready!

Weight:50g Price£10.00
New Product

Ji Di Ancient Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2014 (Complete Cake)

Ji Di Ancient Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2014 (Complete Cake)

Incredible value puer Ancient tea tree sheng puer. Excellent quality raw puer at an affordable price.

Weight:357g Price£65.00
Best Seller

Ji Di Ancient Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2016 - 50g

Ji Di Ancient Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2016 - 50g

Incredible value puer ancient old tea tree sheng puer. Excellent quality raw puer at an affordable price.

Weight:50g Price£7.00
Best Seller

Ji Di Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2015 (Complete Cake)

Ji Di Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2015 (Complete Cake)

Incredible value puer Ancient old tea tree sheng puer. Excellent quality raw puer at an affordable price.

Weight:357g Price£50.00
Best Seller

Ji Di Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2016 (Complete Cake)

Ji Di Tea Tree Sheng Puer 2016 (Complete Cake)

Incredible value puer old and ancient tea tree sheng puer. Excellent quality raw puer at an affordable price.

Weight:357g Price£45.00
Best Seller
New Product

Laos Ancient Tea Tree Raw Sheng Puer Tea 357g

Laos Ancient Tea Tree Raw Sheng Puer Tea 357g

Pure ancient tree raw puer tea. Complex, rich taste with a distinctive tea 'qi'. A superb Raw Puer tea that you cannot miss!

Weight:357g Price£280.00

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