Pu Erh brewing guidelines

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Pu Erh brewing guidelines

Postby Wassupfrombustamove » Dec 12th, '08, 18:33

Hi all,

I would like to come to a consensus on some brewing guidelines for Pu Erh. Please discuss some of your best strategies, infusion times, proportions, etc. I’m new to Pu Erh and so I want a solid foundation, before diving in completely.

Thanks,

Bustamove

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Postby shogun89 » Dec 12th, '08, 18:44

Personally I start with about 5-6 grams of tea in my 130ml. yixing. I preheat it with boiling water, then poor it out and add the tea. I then add fully boiling water to cover the leaves, let sit about 10 seconds, poor of into cups to warm them. Then poor more water in to the top of the pot, place lid on. steeping times vary for different tea but I usually use. . . 10, 12, 20, 30, 50, 70 seconds. This is for sheng puerh. The times can be adjusted easily to your own taste preference. Good luck! 8) 8)

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Postby Salsero » Dec 13th, '08, 00:22

I do pretty much the same as The General the first time with a new sheng puerh, but I often vary the basic pattern dramatically as I get to know a pu. If it is coming out too astringent, I shorten brew times; too bland, I lengthen them. If the whole session is low astringency and low flavor, I use more leaf next time.

My sort of standard times, including pouring water in and pouring tea out, go something like: (no rinse for me) 15 s, 20 s, 25 s, 35 s, 45 s, 1 m, 2 m. More often than not, I will increase the infusion times slower than that.

I used to use a ratio of 1 gr to 30 ml water, but I find myself using 25% to 50% more tea lately, especially with lighter sheng.

I use water just off the boil virtually always. I feel if I need to use cooler water to avoid astringency I am infusing too long, drinking the tea too young, or it's just not good tea. It takes very hot water to reveal the soul of a particular cake.

Of course, every tea will be different and different brewing vessels will often require a different approach.

I know that there are more intense brewing parameters for those who are truly evaluating a tea, but since I am usually drinking for immediate pleasure more than for evaluation of a cake's potential, I don't push it to extremes.

Shu is a whole different beast ... generally going up quickly to longer infusions and often rinsing before the first infusion.

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making pu'er

Postby vibrantdragon » Dec 15th, '08, 00:06

When you make Pu’er tea, 2 things you should know:
1. Water temperature and type: 100% fresh boiled water. 2. The time of tea steeping in the water. Now let me tell you a simple way how to make Pu’er tea.
Use hot ~ close to boiling 208F or above, fresh good quality water. o
First of all, wash the tea with boiled water. Tea comes from natural mountains, of course some dust on it, esp. Pu’er tea, because of the special aging way, some fungus and/or mold might also be on it. Of course the secondary fermentation process requires the extra bacterial and fungal cultures are is the keys to making Pu’er tea special flavor. So we should wash the tea first, not long, shake the tea in the boiled water and pour the wash away, no more than five seconds.
Now we start to make tea. Pour the boiled water into the tea pot; let the tea soak in hot water for about 1-2 minutes for the first time. Many other people talk about 20 seconds for the first steep, but from my own experience you need much longer for the first time. Pour the tea out of the tea pot, use any kind of cups you like and then enjoy your tea. Wait till the tea takes on a dark reddish brown color.
The second time should be very short, because the tea leaves are already completely soaked, so only 5-10 seconds is enough. One thing to remember is not to ever let the tea leaves get dry while you are still using them. Always leave a little bit of water in covering them in the pot.
The third time and fourth time will need longer and longer, depends how strong the flavor you like. If the tea soaks too long, too strong for you, just dilute with some boiled water. If you do like stronger flavor tea, then let the tea leaves soak longer. Once you make Pu’er tea several times and you’ll know how strong of flavor you like; you can judge it by the water’s color in the tea pot. It’s interesting and fun when you get more and more experience about tea. You’ll really enjoy it.
The better Pu’er tea, the more time you can reuse the leaves. Pu’er tea just like wine, the beautiful color its special smell and your mood while you drink it. Drinking good Pu’er tea is exactly like you drink a glass of good wine.
Enjoy your tea and be in good health. If I get permission i will post more links to documents we have on brewing Pu'er.

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Re: making pu'er

Postby shogun89 » Dec 15th, '08, 15:26

vibrantdragon wrote: let the tea soak in hot water for about 1-2 minutes for the first time.


:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: I'll have to give that a try but I cant see how that much time wouldn't give you pretty much drain cleaner when brewing up a young recipe cake.

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Postby Wassupfrombustamove » Dec 15th, '08, 18:46

thank you :mrgreen:

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Postby vibrantdragon » Dec 15th, '08, 20:53

I am sorry, maybe we use different tea, but after my wash I need at least a min to wet the leaves and actually get an extraction. The color stays clear for the bit and it takes at least a min for the first time.

Could you be washing the leaves too long? :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

I make Pu'er tea at least twice per day (fresh pot with new leaves) every day.

If you cake is low quality maybe it is soaking the water into it too fast.

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Pot type or other differences

Postby vibrantdragon » Dec 15th, '08, 21:00

Maybe it is the pot. I tend to be lazy and use a French Press coffee pot. Great for making a lot of tea quickly. I like large amounts of tea. I do keep my water at the right temp and I do time it.

Now my wife that has drank Pu'er for the last 20 years in Xishuangbanna says it takes abotu a min even in the small clay pots many use the first time.

Again check out my time for each extraction.

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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Dec 15th, '08, 21:11

vibrantdragon: How much leaf are you using to what volume of water?

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How much

Postby vibrantdragon » Dec 15th, '08, 22:36

Sorry, I do not have a scale at home. I will bring the amount i normally use and measure at work tomorrow.

I add about 700 ml of water held at 208 oF. I use a hot pot so the water is help constant.

I do not always break my tea up fine. I am preparing a document to post on my website with all the pictures and a look at the Kongming tea from Chunhai factory. It should be done by tomarrow. Just search vibrant dragon. I will post the measurement tomarrow.

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Re: How much

Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Dec 15th, '08, 22:56

vibrantdragon wrote:I add about 700 ml of water held at 208 oF. I use a hot pot so the water is help constant.


You are brewing far out of the reach of gong fu I would imagine then, which explains a bit. 700ml = ~24oz, which is QUITE a lot when were talking about pu'erh.

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Postby vibrantdragon » Dec 16th, '08, 00:08

You are right, I like to make a lot of tea. This technique i am posting works well to make a tea for friends and family.

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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Dec 16th, '08, 01:10

vibrantdragon wrote:You are right, I like to make a lot of tea. This technique i am posting works well to make a tea for friends and family.


This is why you may have big differences from what is the norm, most of us here, especially pu drinkers, gong fu everything... in which case you end up doing very short steeps unless you want rocket fuel.

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tea amount

Postby vibrantdragon » Dec 16th, '08, 12:00

We use about 26grams of tea in 600 to 700 ml of water and we use our french press coffee pot to make the tea. I will get the pictures of the whole process on my website tongiht. I took most of them last night.

The great thing about this set up is that you can make a lot of tea for everyone and you do not to keep making it to give everyone a glass. I have my gongfu style pots, cups and tray and can do that also, but why. Same tea same taste same character of flavor. Only i get a full cup and can drink it for a while. I drink Pu'er as part of my whole life, it is not just a ritual i pull out once and a while. I make ~ 7 pots from one set of Pu'er leaves. So my family, fiends and I drnk about 14 large pots of tea a day. The actual number of people changes everyday, since I do not know who at work might stop by to drink tea with me.

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Re: tea amount

Postby TIM » Dec 16th, '08, 12:24

vibrantdragon wrote:We use about 26grams of tea in 600 to 700 ml of water and we use our french press coffee pot to make the tea. I will get the pictures of the whole process on my website tongiht. I took most of them last night.

The great thing about this set up is that you can make a lot of tea for everyone and you do not to keep making it to give everyone a glass. I have my gongfu style pots, cups and tray and can do that also, but why. Same tea same taste same character of flavor. Only i get a full cup and can drink it for a while. I drink Pu'er as part of my whole life, it is not just a ritual i pull out once and a while. I make ~ 7 pots from one set of Pu'er leaves. So my family, fiends and I drnk about 14 large pots of tea a day. The actual number of people changes everyday, since I do not know who at work might stop by to drink tea with me.


Making a lot of tea and making the right amount of tea are two very different idea. When I first learn to make tea, my teacher told me the difference between "Cow"drinking and "Tasting" tea. Which both serve very different needs.

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