Fermented Puer tea cakes aged for two years.
Puer tea is a variety of post fermented tea produced in the Yunnan province of China. “The production of post fermented tea is one in which the plucked leaves are briefly withered and / or sun-baked, twisted and then piled up for changes brought about by microbe activities – fermentation in the truest sense of the word – before they are dried.
The tea leaves once picked are sun baked, then rolled and left to undergo a microbial fermentation process, before being dried and compressed into the tea cake ready for consumption. “This fermentation brings about a dramatic change in the chemical nature of tea and render this a unique tea category both in terms of taste and salutary benefits.”
In keeping with the Chinese tradition of tea making ceremonies puer tea is traditionally served Gongfu cha style which literally means “making tea with efforts”. Tea masters in China will study for years to perfect their tea making skills, paying particular attention to two essential elements which are water chemistry and temperature.
Water which tastes or smells bad will adversely affect the tea, as will extremely soft water (lacks minerals) which will result in a 'flat' brew, or on the other side of the scale, hard water (high mineral content) must be filtered. Ideally natural spring water should be used, if this is not available locally bottled spring water will suffice.
In order to extract the essential oils of the tea the tea master will determine the appropriate temperature of the water. This is done by experience using timing and judgement of the size of the air bubbles in the water. Optimum temperature is generally regarded to be around the 95 degree Celsius mark for lower quality teas, and 85 – 89 degree Celsius for aged raw puer.
The steeping time varies. 12 – 30 secs for the first few infusions rising to 2 – 10 mins for later infusions.
12 mini puer cakes.