Shu: From Pile to Cake

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

Shu: From Pile to Cake

Postby skilfautdire » Jun 7th, '10, 19:23

I'm wondering about the part of the process for making shu puerh compressed tea that has to do with taking the tea from the fermentation (compost) pile and putting it in the presses for compressing into cakes.

Are there any links that describes in detail this part of the process ?

I'm specifically curious about any other treatement that the tea would have once it leaves the compost pile. To date I haven't found any bugs in compressed cakes, although any pile of leaves that is composted will have things going into it. At first I thought the pile of leaves was composted for a couple of days but it seems it is actually for several weeks.

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Re: Shu: From Pile to Cake

Postby Rithmomachy » Jun 9th, '10, 12:55

Plenty of people have found bugs and other things in their compressed pu-erh. There have been a few threads about it. I'd say whether there are things crawling into the pile depends on where it is. A sealed factory room might have very few pests. I understand that's not where most tea is piled, though!

TIM (who knows a lot about pu-erh) implied in a recent post that shu should always have bugs in it, but I never got a clear answer about what he meant!

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Re: Shu: From Pile to Cake

Postby plant partaker » Jun 9th, '10, 14:36

What kind of bugs get into the pu? I have just recently been learning about pu erh tea and I have orderd both sheng and shu. What is this bug thing all about. Are they living bugs? I am not talking about the microbes (living organisms), are there crickets and beetles in it ? :shock:

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Re: Shu: From Pile to Cake

Postby wyardley » Jun 9th, '10, 14:51

I think you were misinterpreting what he said... he said that sheng should not, but shu was another story -- I don't think that means that it "should", but rather that it could

There are certainly the bugs that create poop which can then be brewed, but I have also seen other types of small bugs on puer cakes. I think in most cases, they eat the paper and the bamboo bark wrapper of a tong rather than the tea itself, but I could be wrong about that.

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Re: Shu: From Pile to Cake

Postby plant partaker » Jun 9th, '10, 15:02

Create poop? This is news to me? Then you brew it?

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Re: Shu: From Pile to Cake

Postby Rithmomachy » Jun 9th, '10, 15:11

wyardley wrote:I think you were misinterpreting what he said... he said that sheng should not, but shu was another story -- I don't think that means that it "should", but rather that it could
Well, yes. I didn't actually think he meant that shu was supposed to have bugs in it. At least I hope not!

I was being a bit facetious, but he left enough ambiguity to make me wonder. I should have added a smiley. :wink:

Plant partaker wrote:Create poop? This is news to me? Then you brew it?
See here! :shock:

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Re: Shu: From Pile to Cake

Postby plant partaker » Jun 9th, '10, 15:17

Wow! So there are certain types that are purposely made this way, but not all pu erh has excrement? can you send me a sample of this tea? How much is this tea?

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Re: Shu: From Pile to Cake

Postby pb2q » Jun 9th, '10, 15:44

sigh.

re: excrement, see also: http://marshaln.xanga.com/573888338/old-teashops/

and: viewtopic.php?t=7782

That thread references an even older thread.

To all of this I'll also add that in a recent episode of Ruth Reichl's new show, Adventures with Ruth, the wonderful Ms. Reichl travels to Laos, where she drinks a tea brewed with silkworm droppings.

Look for the episode named The Tamarind School, Laos here, where you can view the episode:
http://www.gourmet.com/video?videoID=40054373001

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