Hey again, it's us... two crazy wild tea nutmegs.
It's been such a lovely weather in Scotland, that the only thing we've been doing is to hang outside and drink plenty of green, raw Puer and jade wulong teas in our wonderfully green garden to cool ourselves down. (hence no time for blog posts!)
One of such amazing tea is our Te Ji "White Crane" Tuo cha (Tuo cha is a style of press, in this case mushroom shape) - sheng "raw" Puer cake.
Just look at the beautifully pressed leaves and buds, made from spring pick 2012, aged & matured for 9 years now.... absolutely phenomenal.
Made in China, Yunnan province where only the best Puer teas are masterfully created by local artisans, this particular Tuocha was harvested around the city of Dali. The cake is looking so lovely we really didn't want to dig in with our shovels ( oops, I meant puer pick as per image below) but eventually, we did brake it and happily indulged!
How is Sheng "Raw" Puer made?
Puer Tea undergoes the process of Withering, Panning (stir-frying like), Rolling, 2nd panning, 2nd rolling, Drying in the sun (in this stage the tea leaves are called MAOCHA).
From Maocha you can make Sheng/raw or Shu/ripe Puer.
For Sheng the Maocha is then steamed, compression into cakes (or other shapes), stored in humidity and temperature controlled conditions....
Shengs age for years, like a good cheese or wine!
Sheng starts to decline after about 100 years of ageing, it is a real living thing which flavour constantly changes. When just made the raw cake taste very fresh and fruity for up to two years. After that it mellows and smoothens and after about 6 years the true flavours comes out. After about 10 years it's spot on!
You can get real vintages and collectors are throwing the money in the air to obtain the best and oldest sheng puer teas, it's same with wine or whisky.
Brewing & tasting
We have rinse our teaware with boiling water (never to use any soapy cleaner with your teaware unless you like freaking bubbles in your mouth!).
Crushed the cake and added approx 8 grams into this tiny ceramic teapot or 250ml like vessel.
Wait for the water to cool down to 85C and rinsed the tea leaves in the teapot (rinse method is just a quick pour in and pour out of water through the leaves). I would like to stress here to always boil the water to 100C and wait to cool down as for example chlorine (injurious in big quantity) will never evaporate if you do not boil your water to 100C. With the recent covid out there - everywhere - there has been plenty more added to the tap water (from my personal observation).
Add 83C water into the teapot and wait for 1 min. Pour out and enjoy.
The second and third cup of Sheng Puer tea is absolutely glorious, but don't you worry as sheng signature flavour persist for many more brews, while the energy slowly rises with each cup. So don't judge your tea by the first brew. The main quality of sheng is the body effect, this tea is not drunk for it's beautiful taste but for the powerful effect to the body and mind. I shall not describe more here as each one of us is a little different and will have various and personal experiences.
Sage, dried apples, honey, tobacco and wet wood with a little hint of smoke
Can you see the vivid apricot colour of the cup? Isn't it outrages????
We have brewed about 8 tiny cups now.... just enough to go for a tour de France around our neighbourhood with our cross-bikes.
OMMMM fantastic! After arrival we have been able to make another 5 brews and I even managed to weed the garden a little.
This tea surely is a power charger.
Drink tea... Be free...