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Ancient tea garden in Ha Giang province, Vietnam.

PU'ER TEA BASICS

There are two different types of PU'ER tea!

SHENG (RAW) PU'ER - naturally aged
SHU (RIPE) PU'ER - artificially aged

Both of these types traditionally made from wild old trees. Such tea leaves give a deeper and stronger taste, which develops over time. The taste of this tea is always complex, with a lot of different notes and associations.

SHENG (RAW) PU'ER usually aged for several years, or even decades, to enjoy the taste, which develop and become softer, deeper and multi-faceted. Chinese people consider that old tea has a lot of beneficial properties to human body. More about SHENG PU'ER.

SHU (RIPE) PU'ER undergoes a long fermentation process, and in the end has a rich, soft and deep taste with a very dark infusion. This type of pu'er has a lot of beneficial properties to digestion system. More about SHU PU'ER.

The price of those teas depends on
- the quality of raw materials (tea leaves)
- the work of the tea master (processing)
- storage conditions
- aging period

The difference between sheng (raw) and shu (ripe) pu'er tea.

FACTORY PU'ER TEA

There are a lot of different tea factories located in Yunnan province involved in pu'er tea production. Some of them are quite new but some of them are old and famous due their long history and authority.

Most respected and well-known are
KUNMING (FU XING)
(1939)
MENGHAI (1940)
XIAGUAN (Since 1941)
CHINA TEA (1949)
FENG QING (1954)
MENGKU RONGSHI (1974/1999)
FUHAI (1983)
NAN JIAN TULIN (1986)
XINGHAI (1996-2004)
HAIWAN (1999)
CHANGTAI (1999)

Most of them produce blends/receipts from different harvests and areas to create complex and interesting tastes. Some of them have names like 7572 means that this blend was created in 1975, from 7th grade tea leaves on a factory number 2.

SINGLE ORIGIN PU'ER

There are a lot of different tea places in Yunnan province famous for a huge amount of old and even ancient tea trees. Tea leaves from these trees have special character, taste and aroma due to a specific tea tree variety, as well as climate, soil and humidity.

There are three main areas:

PU'ER
Jinggu, Jingdong and Lancang countries
Pu'er city, Jingmai, Wu Liang, Ailao, Kunlu and others (mountains)

LINCANG
Shuangjiang, YongDe, Linxiang, Yunxian and Fengqing countries
Mengku, Da Xue Shan, Bing Dao, Xigui and others (mountains)

XISHUANGBANNA
Mengla country
YiWu, Yibang, Man Zhuan, Man Zhi, Gedeng, Youle
Menghai country
Nannuo, Bada, Hakei, Bulang (Laobanzhang, Lao Man Er, Mannuo), Mengsong
Jinghong country

The name of pu'er teas usually sounds like: "YiWu Gu Shu Sheng/Shu" , where "YiWu" is the name of the area/mountain, Gu Shu means that the leaves plucked from ancient trees and Sheng/Shu is the type of pu'er tea.

DIFFERENT SHAPES OF PU'ER TEA

For better transportation and ageing, this tea is pressed into different shapes.
Most common are:

CAKES - most common shape of pressed pu'er, usually 357 g, but also can be 50, 100, 145, 200, 250 and 300 g. Some of fabrics make 400 and 500g cakes.
BRICKS - also very popular shape for pressing tea, usually 250, 500 or 1000g.
TUO CHA (NEST) - one more popular shape, traditionally used for pressing tea. Usually 100, 200 or 250g.


There are more different shapes like JIN GUO (pumpkin), JIN CHA (mushroom), LONG ZHU (dragon pearl) and others traditionally used in different parts of Yunnan province.

STORAGE CONDITIONS

There are two different STORAGE CONDITIONS to age/store pu'er tea.

DRY (NATURAL) STORAGE
Special environment which helps tea develop and age perfectly. Temperature, moisture and micro-climate are most important factors.

WET (HONG KONG) STORAGE
Wet environment makes tea age faster and develop differently. Temperature, moisture and micro-climate are even more important factors to control ageing processes. HONG KONG STORAGE is a separate art, which gives tea a special taste. Most HK stored tea also stored in DRY STORAGE to balance the taste.
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