Pu Erh for beginners

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

Pu Erh for beginners

Postby disillusioned » Jan 28th, '09, 19:24

I'm new to the world of Pu Erh what would be a good, relatively cheap starter cake?

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Postby Wesli » Jan 28th, '09, 19:40

Menghai 7542

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Postby expatCanuck » Jan 28th, '09, 20:22

Depends, in part, what you consider to be cheap.

2008 Menghai 7542 and the 2008 Menghai "Classic" Premium 801's are in the $15 + shipping from China range.

Cheaper still is the 8582 at roughly $10 plus shipping.

More expensive (but, IMHO, a very good value) is the 2008 Hai Lang Hao Star of Bu Lang, at $24 plus shipping.

With the exception of some more expensive bings ($30+), most decent 2008s are going to be in the $15-25 range, tho' you can probably find a decent bing for $10 or so. And most seasoned folk here will (rightly) advise that more money doesn't necessarily mean better pu-erh.

But probably the best way to ease into the waters is to purchase several samples, getting a feel for tree (plantation, wild, ancient), mountain (Bulang, Menghai, Mengsong ...) and processing (all one leaf type, blends).

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Postby wyardley » Jan 28th, '09, 20:35

One other thing to keep in mind is whether you want the cake to drink now or not. I would buy a 2008 7542 (in fact, I have some), but I wouldn't be tempted to drink a whole lot of it now.

If you're looking for a tea to drink now, shu (loose or in cakes), loose aged sheng in smaller quantities, samples of aged sheng, wet or fairly humid stored cakes or tuos with at least 5-10 years on them, etc. might be better places to start. Depending on how new you are, I would say it's a good idea to first get an idea of the spectrum of puer tea and figure out which teas taste good to you and make your body feel good. A whole cake is almost a pound of tea, so it's a lot of tea if it ends up being something you don't like. There are some good threads already on here about good stuff for beginners to try to get an idea of the characteristics that are roughly typical of various types of tea.

While there are, of course, many people who disagree, I think a lot of people would argue that it's not a great idea to drink a ton of young (<10 yr) sheng.

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Postby disillusioned » Jan 28th, '09, 20:46

Well I was looking for both a pu to start aging and also some to try now. Would Yunnan sourcing be a good place to pick up some samplers of pu?

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Postby expatCanuck » Jan 28th, '09, 20:49

disillusioned wrote:Well I was looking for both a pu to start aging and also some to try now. Would Yunnan sourcing be a good place to pick up some samplers of pu?
Yep. Both YSLLC and puerhshop.com are pretty well thought of.

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Postby shogun89 » Jan 28th, '09, 22:35

You cant go wrong with this one here, my friend,
http://www.puerhshop.com/index.php?main ... cts_id=779

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Postby tenuki » Jan 28th, '09, 22:39

I would start with a Gong Ting if I were you. Haven't had Puerhshops, but he has one. YSLLC has one too. I get mine at New Century Tea Gallery which is local to me, but you would probably have to call them to get them to ship you some, I heard ordering online there is a non-starter and besides, its more expensive than the other two.

Image

Gong Ting Puerh is also called Imperial Puerh, is made from buds generally and undergoes a special, longer process than most shu. I always recommend it as a start puerh because it is relatively mild, smooth, and has no real off notes while still being a pretty good example of the base flavors in puerh. Hard to find a good shu, but as shu's go gong ting is more or less reliably good IMO.

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Postby Salsero » Jan 28th, '09, 23:33

My recommendation is to buy nothing but samples for your first 25 to 50 tastes. I think a lot of the tea mentioned above is available in sample sizes. Yunnan Sourcing, Puerhshop, and Hou De offer quite a few samples. A TeaChatter, Netsurfr, has samples mostly from Yunnan Sourcing at the B&B forum though I imagine you could PM him here for more information.

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Postby disillusioned » Jan 29th, '09, 10:16

Thank you all for your help, i decided to go a bit overboard and just combine all of your ideas. I ordered a cake of 2008 Menghai 7542, I ordered a sampler, and I ordered some Gong Ting. I appreciate the help and will let you know how it all turns out.

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Postby TIM » Jan 29th, '09, 10:55

tenuki wrote:I would start with a Gong Ting if I were you. Haven't had Puerhshops, but he has one. YSLLC has one too. I get mine at New Century Tea Gallery which is local to me, but you would probably have to call them to get them to ship you some, I heard ordering online there is a non-starter and besides, its more expensive than the other two.

Image

Gong Ting Puerh is also called Imperial Puerh, is made from buds generally and undergoes a special, longer process than most shu. I always recommend it as a start puerh because it is relatively mild, smooth, and has no real off notes while still being a pretty good example of the base flavors in puerh. Hard to find a good shu, but as shu's go gong ting is more or less reliably good IMO.


Gong Ting Puerh or Gong Ting (Imperial court) Red Lady is one of my daily cooked pu choice. Very easy to drink/brew and last for a whole day. Great Choice tenuki.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_rNl5VRNLz_s/R5fJxGcfilI/AAAAAAAAAHk/kP2wS0mQsQ4/s1600-h/IMG_0671.JPG

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Postby thanks » Jan 29th, '09, 20:26

I really enjoy gong ting pu'er but find it to be a very finicky brewer personally. It seems to oversteep QUICKLY, but when handled with care is extremely rewarding. A fine lesson in brewing and enjoying good tea. I like to think of it as the dancong of the pu'er world.

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