How do you choose pu-erh?


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

Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby jayinhk » Jul 29th, '13, 05:37

I use a simple stainless electric kettle and I can't use water as hot as 212 for sheng that young or it's too astringent/bitter to me. That being said, I've never had two kinds of sheng that taste the same?
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby gasninja » Jul 29th, '13, 06:20

JD wrote:
I guess my best option here is to buy as many samples as I can and try everything. I looked around pu-erh shop and they have 80 or so samples so this will take a long time to accomplish. I'll probably look for inexpensive tea first and go from there.. :D

I would not limit yourself to one vendor. Yunnan sourcing now has a u.s.store if you are in The U.S.
There is also banateacompany.com- jasetea.com- houdeasianart.com ,lifeinateacup origintea.net essenceoftea.co.uk and a whole host of others. Although if you are looking for cheap puerh puerh shop might be the spot for you.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby TomVerlain » Jul 29th, '13, 07:00

JD wrote:Using water at 212F boil:

How is this even possible? Are there electric kettles out there that will continue boiling each time you set it down after each pour?


there are "keep hot" kettles that re-boil water, though they might not keep them at a continuous rolling boil. Zojirushi will keep it at 208 according to their website.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby MarshalN » Jul 29th, '13, 07:53

Well, you obviously can't have it at constant 212, but the idea is to keep it close to boiling as much as possible. If you think your water is 200 it's likely really only 180 or so, which is really just sort of warm
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby Catfur » Jul 29th, '13, 10:09

I use a bonavita (thanks Ed) and just reboil every time. It only takes a few seconds if the water is already hot.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby JD » Jul 29th, '13, 14:43

I think I can achieve this with my portable stove burner. Just turn the heat up.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby Joel Byron » Jul 29th, '13, 19:43

You can also turn the burner down to low and it will maintain the temperature. You'll have to experiment to find the sweet spot. I usually try to keep the water right below a full on rolling boil. It still has large bubbles coming up every few seconds, but isn't violently boiling. I've measured the temp and it's between 208-210 F with my kettle and stove. YMMV.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby gingkoseto » Jul 30th, '13, 21:16

And I assume one of the major functions of goose neck pouring is to cool down the water a bit when pouring boiling water. Seems paradoxical for op's pursuit :shock:
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby Emmett » Jul 31st, '13, 02:31

Exempt wrote:

JD wrote:When I tried ordering from Yunnan Sourcing the shipping choices were all Chinese air mail or Chinese standard shipping or whatever. I doubt that's a warehouse in the US.



That's because you were on yunnansourcing.com not yunnansourcing.us

Also I wouldn't order anything aged from puerh shop. Many people, along with myself, received a faked aged cake and the issue was unresolved.


I would also try samples from http://www.lifeinteacup.com/ they have a small selection but everything I have gotten from them has been very good. The sample packages are very decently priced and you get a good feeling for different aged puerhs. Also very fast shipping since based in US.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby JD » Aug 3rd, '13, 14:08

After going through a few of these samples again and spending more time with them I'm noticing that the first 2 infusions of each of them are a bit too strong and astringent for my tastes. The 3rd infusion and on are much mellower, subtler, and sweeter tasting.

I read somewhere that Chinese people don't even drink the first 2 infusions of sheng. They usually skip to the 3rd or even 4th infusion.

Shu, on the other hand, they drink from 1st infusion onward. I notice shu's tend to be great right from the start though they lose that earthy taste around the 3rd infusion.

Should I rinse them for a longer period of time or just skip the first 2 infusions?
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby Exempt » Aug 3rd, '13, 14:53

JD wrote:After going through a few of these samples again and spending more time with them I'm noticing that the first 2 infusions of each of them are a bit too strong and astringent for my tastes. The 3rd infusion and on are much mellower, subtler, and sweeter tasting.

I read somewhere that Chinese people don't even drink the first 2 infusions of sheng. They usually skip to the 3rd or even 4th infusion.

Shu, on the other hand, they drink from 1st infusion onward. I notice shu's tend to be great right from the start though they lose that earthy taste around the 3rd infusion.

Should I rinse them for a longer period of time or just skip the first 2 infusions?


When drinking puerh, I only rinse a tea if it has undergone traditional storage and I don't want to drink the funk. With almost all other puerh I drink the first 2 infusions with a ten second steep because I think it is very telling. The first infusion usually shows the very light sweet elements, and an immediate second 10 second infusion reveals the rich, savory flavors. Then I adjust from here. Of course, this is all personal preference so do whatever you think is best
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby William » Aug 3rd, '13, 15:08

JD wrote:After going through a few of these samples again and spending more time with them I'm noticing that the first 2 infusions of each of them are a bit too strong and astringent for my tastes. The 3rd infusion and on are much mellower, subtler, and sweeter tasting.


From my modest experience, I can say that this happens when there is not the right ratio leaves/water, I suggest you to reduce the amount of tea used.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby JD » Aug 3rd, '13, 17:52

5 grams is probably too much for a 3.2 ounce gaiwan.

Perhaps a ratio of 1 gram leaf to 1 ounce water?
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby TIM » Aug 3rd, '13, 19:05

JD wrote:5 grams is probably too much for a 3.2 ounce gaiwan.

Perhaps a ratio of 1 gram leaf to 1 ounce water?


Where did you learn 1/1 ratio?
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby Exempt » Aug 3rd, '13, 19:06

JD wrote:5 grams is probably too much for a 3.2 ounce gaiwan.

Perhaps a ratio of 1 gram leaf to 1 ounce water?

I usually go with 2 grams to 1 ounce water. How long are your infusions?
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