Our Golden Pu-erh is ripe (shou cha) and has been aged for five years in a dark cave in Yunnan Province. This aging process in a relatively high humidity environment has mellowed the elemental character of the tea when compared to young Pu-erh (aged about 1 year). As with wine, young pu-erh is considered the least valuable whereas pu-erh 5 years or older is more highly prized. Interestingly the taste of pu-erh becomes more mellow with age and perhaps more acceptable to the western palate.
Ripe, or shou cha, pu-erh is fermented. The method of production is very involved. The tea leaves are picked, rolled, withered
in the hot sun, and finally steamed. The steaming process generates moistens the leaves which are then pressed into cakes without drying. While the cakes naturally dry, the tea takes on a
musty and earthy character. Pu-erh that gets somewhat moldy before it completely dries is considered the best. Pu-erh is then stored for a length of time, never less than 6 months.
Pressed pu-erh is easy to transport and store. About 1000 years ago, tea bricks were carried by mules and people down the Tea Horse Road (now called the Ancient Tea Horse Road). The road connected Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces to Burma, Bengal, Tibet and Central China. It was named as such because tea bricks were often traded for Tibetan ponies. The horses were then used by China to fight nomads in the north.
This pu-erh has been broken up out of the cakes to make it easier to use as a loose leaf tea.
By the 8oz cup: 1-2 teaspoon of tea (3g).
By the gallon: 8-16 teaspoons of tea (25g).
Steep for 5-7 minutes at 212F.
If steeping multiple times, add at least an additional 30 seconds for each consecutive steep.