Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

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


May 1st, '17, 14:36
Posts: 3
Joined: May 1st, '17, 14:10

Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

by Marytea » May 1st, '17, 14:36

Hi everyone! I was in San Francisco about 30-40 years ago and bought this tea, which has been sitting in a box and I just started drinking it! I can't remember the name of the tea shop, and was hoping that someone could identify it. I've posted some pictures of the outside of the box, and some of the tea cakes. I'd appreciate any insight you could provide. What is the quality, where is it from, how much is it worth now? How to brew it? I purchased a tea pick and a tray and that has made it much easier to separate the tea. The cakes are very hard. Thanks!
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May 1st, '17, 14:37
Posts: 3
Joined: May 1st, '17, 14:10

Re: Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

by Marytea » May 1st, '17, 14:37

Here are a few more pictures
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May 1st, '17, 15:27
Posts: 16
Joined: May 1st, '17, 05:09
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

by Distrait » May 1st, '17, 15:27

I'm afraid I can't identify this tea as I'm pretty new to this tea world myself. Just wanted to say that your "ID my puerh tea" topic is much more interesting than my own!

How did you store the tea? More importantly now that you're drinking it, how does it taste?

May 3rd, '17, 12:37
Posts: 3
Joined: May 1st, '17, 14:10

Re: Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

by Marytea » May 3rd, '17, 12:37

it's been in the box in my cupboard. At room temperature. As far as the taste, i'm not very good at describing it. It tastes like a more complex and earthy green tea. But I can't say that I am a real tea connoisseur, and I'm not sure I'm brewing it correctly. How much tea do people use, and how much water? And how long do you brew it? And do you brew the same leaves more than once? I suppose it depends on how much water you use initially. I find it does taste better if I brew larger chunks of tea. I've been using about a half a teaspoon in about 12 ounces of 190 degree water, brewing for about five minutes.

May 3rd, '17, 16:47
Posts: 16
Joined: May 1st, '17, 05:09
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

by Distrait » May 3rd, '17, 16:47

Marytea wrote: it's been in the box in my cupboard. At room temperature. As far as the taste, i'm not very good at describing it. It tastes like a more complex and earthy green tea. But I can't say that I am a real tea connoisseur, and I'm not sure I'm brewing it correctly. How much tea do people use, and how much water? And how long do you brew it? And do you brew the same leaves more than once? I suppose it depends on how much water you use initially. I find it does taste better if I brew larger chunks of tea. I've been using about a half a teaspoon in about 12 ounces of 190 degree water, brewing for about five minutes.
I would try to brew this 'gongfu' style. This may sound crazy at first but I think there will be a world of difference. It is hard to say how much tea to use unless you have a scale to measure, tea can have different volume depending on processing. If you can measure weight accurately I would use about 1 gram for every 30ml. It's hard to say for your tea but this could be around one teaspoon for every 4oz. Use boiling water and rinse the tea (steep 5-15 seconds, then discard the water). For your first steep try a 5-10 second brew and go up from there. You can try longer if you like your tea stronger or if the tea is very compressed. Definitely use the tea more than once, it will change in flavour... I usually find the 2nd and 3rd infusions most enjoyable. Add about 5-10 seconds for each subsequent infusion.

These are just guidelines and you can modify them depending on your tastes, but in general it would be much higher tea/water ratio and shorter steep times. Hope this helps.

You can also watch some videos on gonfu brewing on YouTube. I like the ones by Mei Leaf.

May 3rd, '17, 17:33
Posts: 16
Joined: May 1st, '17, 05:09
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

by Distrait » May 3rd, '17, 17:33

I wrote all of that on my way out for work and left out a few important notes.

If you can get your hands on a gaiwan, that's what I would use to brew.

If you're brewing for yourself only generally you will not be brewing 12oz at a time! More like 2-4oz. You can get at least 4-6 steeps and some tea will go much further 15+ so push your tea and see what happens!

Also 30+ year old tea could be quite prized so maybe wait and see what other people say before you drink it all :D

Jan 6th, '18, 17:34
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 28th, '17, 00:55

Re: Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

by thatonebrew » Jan 6th, '18, 17:34

I don't think it has a particular name. The yellow sheet you have is actually a Chinese chess board and the box says ' Tea Art; Chess'. My guess is that it is actually a chess set where they press the tea into small hard bricks to act as the chess pieces.

The Chinese chess pieces are a small circle piece, as you can see here:
http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/sites/exe ... 20(2D).jpg

I am not even sure if the tea is meant to be drunk as there has been a trend in the past few decades where they press some teas into extremely hard cakes to be sold as souvenirs or decorative items. Like this:

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/304204149800435769/

This is different from the normal 'tea bricks' like this :

https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-c ... 3892fdce-c

Most of the time, these decorative bricks are not made of real tea leaves or could be from any left over material as the sellers are not expecting the buyers to be drinking it.


But there might always be exceptions! And if you have tried it and like it then all is well (:

Jan 8th, '18, 10:49
Posts: 26
Joined: Oct 24th, '17, 12:41

Re: Can someone identify this Pu-erh tea?

by 12Tea » Jan 8th, '18, 10:49

That's really cool. I wouldn't drink it, since I would want to keep the chess set complete. I assume not the best tea was used to press these mini cakes as most people who buy this set will get it just for fun. However, given the 30-40 years of aging, it shouldn't taste too bad. The bitterness should've disappeared by now. Definitely try gongfu brewing if you intend to drink more of it.

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