The matter is further complicated when one takes into account that there are two types of Puerh tea, known as Green (Sheng, Raw) and Black (Shou, Cooked, Ripe, Fermented). For 1,500 years, all Pu-erh tea produced was the green type. Recognizing that aged green Pu-erh tea was so highly prized, the Menghai Tea Factory produced the first commercial “black” Pu-erh tea cake in 1975 by adding an additional step in the manufacturing process.
This innovation was intended to simulate the aging process and give new tea an aged taste. In this step called piling/heaping, the leaves are heaped in a pile to facilitate fermentation. The heat generated by the natural chemical reaction “cooks” the leaves slightly. Experienced tea drinkers debate how effective this new innovation is at giving the tea an aged taste but almost all can agree that black Pu-erh tea has its own unique character and has taken its rightful place among the great teas.
How to pry break up Puerh tea cake >>>
Put the cake on the tray, let the tea cake back up, use one hand press and hold the cake, look for the space between the tea leaves to insert the knife to avoid crashing the tea leaves, insert the Pu-er knife into the edge of the cake, gently turn the knife lightly up and down, remove the knife and find the other space repeat until the tea loosens and falls off. This will usually break a chunk of tea from the cake. You can remove the loose chunk from the tea cake and break the chunk easily by hand now.
Tip: Insert the Pu-er knife into the edge of the cake; gently turn the knife lightly up and down.
Pry from the back first, make the cake looks good (like whole cake) from the front.
Pry tuocha puerh tea >>>
Tuo cha is the tightest of the three types of pressed teas, so it is more difficult to pry. We recommend starting from the concave surface of the tea cake. Many people start from the outer surface, which may affect the appearance of the tea. First, insert the tea needle from the concave surface at a small angle. Do not move the tea at the first two insertions, and in the third insertion, we can pry up the tea, so that to keep the integrity of tea leaves.
Break up brick puerh tea >>>
The first thing to do when prying tea flakes from a compressed Pu-erh brick is to pick one of its four corners to begin prying the tea from. Because each Pu-erh brick or cake is produced uniquely with different pilling and the tea being compressed in a different way.
Because of this, when we begin to loosen our Pu-erh tea for brewing, we need to begin by inserting our tea needle into one of the four corners, where you can find an appropriate opening to insert your needle. Once you find a place in one of the corners that you can insert your tea needle, do so, and using the tea needle, rotate it and press it to insert the tea needle.
Next, find another place to insert your needle fairly close to where you have already inserted your needle the first time, and insert your needle into this second hole and again, rotate and press to loosen the tea.
1. Don’t use too much force to avoid hurting yourself accidentally once the tea needle slides away.
2. The hand which holds the tea cake needs to keep parallel with the angle of the insertion of tea needle to avoid accidental injury.
3. Try to keep the integrity of tea leaves when prying.
1. Quantity: Use 2 teaspoon tea leaves per serve (for up to 5 people) into the tea vessel.
2. Use freshly boiled water (100℃), thoroughly rinse the tea leaves without soaking for up to 10 seconds:
a.. rinse once for young teas
b. rinse 2 times for aged teas
3. Add freshly boiled water to start brewing and serve without delay
a. Ripened Pu-erh (pre-fermented Pu-erh) has a relatively darker color. Due to its pre-fermentation nature, the flavor is easy to draw and color of the tea brew becomes dark quickly in comparison to raw Pu-erh teas. We recommend about 10 seconds for the first brew and increase brewing time for about 10 seconds with each additional brew.
b. Raw Pu-erhs are more similar to certain Oolong tea. We recommend the following brewing time: up to 30 seconds for the first 1-2 brews and increase the brewing time for about 30 seconds for any additional brew.
c. brewing Puerh teas, especially pre-fermented (ripened) Pu-erh teas have a relatively darker color. Prolong brewing could result in tea color being deep dark (like soy source) and take on a medicinal like flavor.
4. Repeat infusions
Pu-erh leaves can be used repeatedly for up to 10-20 infusions by simply topping up with freshly boiled hot water.