Complete Beginner to Puerh


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

Complete Beginner to Puerh

Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Apr 25th, '08, 01:36

So I'm just going to straight out admit that besides reading all the reviews and information about puerh I really know nothing about it. I'm a complete beginner, but I dearly want to jump into it.

Really I'm looking for any help/advice/insight/etc. on where to start, what I should first give a try, basically any knowledge you can fill my brain with would be much appreciated. :wink:
Last edited by PolyhymnianMuse on Apr 25th, '08, 20:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Advice

Postby hop_goblin » Apr 25th, '08, 13:21

You are on the right track. Read reviews, blogs, and even ask Jim of the Puerh Shop or Guang at HouDe Asian Arts for some advice on where to start. Just make sure that you try good pu-erh for your first attempt. Sadly, many who try pu for the first time are turned off as they get a hold of some skunky shag.
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Postby Wesli » Apr 25th, '08, 13:51

You are on the right track. Read reviews, blogs, and even ask Jim of the Puerh Shop or Guang at HouDe Asian Arts for some advice on where to start. Just make sure that you try good pu-erh for your first attempt. Sadly, many who try pu for the first time are turned off as they get a hold of some skunky shag.

i.e. What he said.

Heh, I recommend getting a representative of each category. A young sheng, a (at least partially) aged sheng, and a shu. I would try them in order from young -> aged -> shu.

If you order from puerhshop, grab a 03 keyixing yiwu sample (young sheng), a 2003 Dayi Yiwu Arbor sample (same year, but stored differently, giving it a semi-aged taste), and a shu or two (songpin or the 2004 Yue Chen Yue Xiang are OK). You could also grab an even younger sheng, 07 or so, and try to distinguish between the 07, 03. The 2006 Arbor Yinhao Tuocha (young sheng) is small, cheap and fairly good.
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Postby ABx » Apr 25th, '08, 14:59

I still need to add some finishing touches (like pictures, a few more links, and better formatting), but I have an otherwise finished "paper" that I wrote (and BearsBearsBears helped to edit) to post on my blog that you can get at http://www.dyingsun.net/Tea/pudraft.rtf
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Postby brianlavelle » Apr 25th, '08, 15:18

ABx wrote:I still need to add some finishing touches (like pictures, a few more links, and better formatting), but I have an otherwise finished "paper" that I wrote (and BearsBearsBears helped to edit) to post on my blog that you can get at http://www.dyingsun.net/Tea/pudraft.rtf

I'm just starting out with pu'erh too, so this is a great resource ABx. Thanks for letting us see it.

There are so many knowledgeable folk on here about what seems an often confusing subject. The section on steeping was especially useful for me. I might be wrong but that seems to be what causes most difficulty at least at the start. Given that most pu'erh will be different in terms of age, storage, etc, what's a good, basic way to start off with a tea? Is it always trial and error? For gong fu, should you start with a relatively short steep - 15 to 20s, perhaps?
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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Apr 25th, '08, 15:24

wow ABx thats going to be some good reading :)

Thanks so much!
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Postby Dizzwave » Apr 25th, '08, 15:33

ABx wrote:...but I have an otherwise finished "paper" that I wrote....

Wow! That is jaw-droppingly good. So much interesting stuff in there. I'll have to try some of your recommendations...
-dave
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Postby ABx » Apr 25th, '08, 16:14

Thanks, folks, I'm glad it was so well received :) Looking at it again, I still have some editing to do but just minor stuff. I'll try to remember to post back here when I get it finished up.

The section on steeping was especially useful for me. I might be wrong but that seems to be what causes most difficulty at least at the start. Given that most pu'erh will be different in terms of age, storage, etc, what's a good, basic way to start off with a tea? Is it always trial and error? For gong fu, should you start with a relatively short steep - 15 to 20s, perhaps?
I'd say steeping cooked puerh wrong is what turns a lot of people off, but that's often when the person is used to other teas.

Gongfu'ing is certainly a sort of trial and error process. I typically use about 10 grams in a roughly 4 oz pot. Fifteen seconds, or so, is probably about right for the first steep, but after that it usually only takes around five seconds. After several infusions you can start adding around 5 seconds to each steep. Around the tenth or so is often when you end up around 20-30 seconds, but it really all depends. The best thing is really just to try it and feel your way through it. Puerh generally yeilds enough steeps that there's plenty of room for experimentation. Don't worry, it's not as tough as it might seem :)

I would say to use some good water, though. Something along the lines of spring water.
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Postby brianlavelle » Apr 25th, '08, 16:29

ABx wrote:
The section on steeping was especially useful for me. I might be wrong but that seems to be what causes most difficulty at least at the start. Given that most pu'erh will be different in terms of age, storage, etc, what's a good, basic way to start off with a tea? Is it always trial and error? For gong fu, should you start with a relatively short steep - 15 to 20s, perhaps?
I'd say steeping cooked puerh wrong is what turns a lot of people off, but that's often when the person is used to other teas.

Gongfu'ing is certainly a sort of trial and error process. I typically use about 10 grams in a roughly 4 oz pot. Fifteen seconds, or so, is probably about right for the first steep, but after that it usually only takes around five seconds. After several infusions you can start adding around 5 seconds to each steep. Around the tenth or so is often when you end up around 20-30 seconds, but it really all depends. The best thing is really just to try it and feel your way through it. Puerh generally yeilds enough steeps that there's plenty of room for experimentation. Don't worry, it's not as tough as it might seem :)

I would say to use some good water, though. Something along the lines of spring water.

Thank you ABx! That's very helpful. This evening, I've been enjoying a young (2000) raw Yu Wi sample I got from Scott at Yunnan Sourcing; experimenting with it has been fun, and it seems to have been fairly forgiving, so far anyway!

I'll look forward to your paper being posted on your blog.
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Postby Dizzwave » Apr 25th, '08, 16:38

I often just steep by color. Hard to do with a yixing, but with a gaiwan it's easy. For shu, if I can't see the bottom any more, that's probably too long. For sheng, if it's getting green you're probably good to go.... but it takes a little experimentation to get to know the colors... and every tea is different!
My 2c...
-dave
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Postby RussianSoul » Apr 25th, '08, 16:45

ABx wrote:I still need to add some finishing touches (like pictures, a few more links, and better formatting), but I have an otherwise finished "paper" that I wrote (and BearsBearsBears helped to edit) to post on my blog that you can get at http://www.dyingsun.net/Tea/pudraft.rtf

I cannot open the .rtf! Is there any other way to get to this paper?
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Postby ABx » Apr 25th, '08, 17:22

RussianSoul wrote:I cannot open the .rtf! Is there any other way to get to this paper?
You can't? You should be able to open it with WordPad or just about any word processor. You might try clearing your browser cache and download again. Otherwise let me know what format works for you (.doc or .pdf?) and I can convert it.
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Postby RussianSoul » Apr 25th, '08, 17:36

Thanks, ABx! I managed. It would not automatically open with Word, so I had to open it with Firefox to have it download first. Then it opened with Word.

Couple extra steps, not a big deal for such a great paper!
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BIG GAIWAN

Postby Salsero » Apr 25th, '08, 19:36

PolyhymnianMuse wrote: I was thinking of possibly buying this gaiwan from puershop along with some samples, maybe one of the tasting kits.
Poly, I think that gaiwan is very fetching, but it would be too big for me for gong fu. At 177 ml or 6 oz it gets to be A LOT of liquid for one person when you do multiple steeps. My personal fav is a gaiwan around 100 - 120 ml or about 3.5 oz. That size also just fills my leaping carp cup. You will notice that Jim characterizes the size you are looking at as Large in his gaiwan line up. Unless you are doing pu for two, I would get one of the smaller ones.
ABx wrote:I still need to add some finishing touches
ABx, that paper is so beautiful! Thank you so much for creating the resource. I very much look forward to reading it. You are always doing something amazing.
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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Apr 25th, '08, 19:48

Yea I ended up getting the yellow 120 ml gaiwan that puershop has a long with 6 different teas to my first time around. :)

2007 Superior Grade Yinhao Pu-erh Tuocha
2006 Changtai Banna Tuocha
2006 Arbor Yinhao Tuocha
2003 Keyixing Yiwu Pu-erh Tea Cake Sampler
2003 Dayi Yiwu Arbor Pu-erh Tea Cake Sampler
2004 Yue Chen Yue Xiang Pu-erh Tea Cake Sampler

And the gaiwan I got...

Image
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