Whether you are brewing raw or ripe aged tea, you will follow many of the same basic principles of brewing. Aged teas may come in many physical forms, including loose tea, large cakes, or small nests called tuochas, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they are comprised of post-fermented tea leaves rich in antioxidents and pre-and-probiotics. The main differences in brewing the two teas is found in brewing temperatures and storage.

Aged Tea Brewing Basics

For loose aged teas and the small cakes (tuochas), you can add your tea directly to the pot as is (after unwrapping the nests, of course). For larger cakes, we recommend using a tea needle or a small knife to pick off the portion of leaves you will be using and leaving the rest of the cake intact. 

Brewing Aged Tea in a Western-Style Pot

As with all of our teas, for Western-style brewing we recommend a ratio of 5 grams tea to 16 ounces of water. While we adore brewing pu erh in the traditional yixing teapot or a gaiwan, this method is less accessible and more time consuming. But whichever way you choose to brew, the most important thing to remember is: don't throw away your leaves after the first steep! Aged tea is eminently resteepable and you will likely get 6-8 pots of tea from each portion of leaves.

How to Brew Aged Tea: Western Teapots

Sheng (Raw) Pu Erh

Rinse your leaves with 195° F water and then brew for 3 minutes at 195° F. Subsequent resteeps should be done at the same temperature for increasing time intervals of 15-30 seconds. Expect 6-8 infusions from each portion of tea.

How to Brew Aged Tea: Western Teapots

Shou (Ripe) Pu Erh

Rinse your leaves with 205° F water, then steep for 3 minutes at 205°F. For subsequent steeps, use the same temperature water and increasing time interavals of 15 to 20 seconds more. Expect 6-8 steeps from each portion of tea.

Brewing Aged Tea in a Yixing Pot or Gaiwan

For traditional brewing in a gaiwan or Yixing pot, you will need a small pot, sharing pitcher, and small cups.

Before you begin brewing your tea, you will need to first prewarm all your teaware with the appropriate temperature water (195° F for raw aged tea and 205° F for ripe aged tea). After pre-warming your teaware, we recommend filling the pot or gaiwan by 1/3 with leaves. Rinse your leaves with the appropriate temperature water and then steep for approximately 45 seconds. Pour through a strainer into your sharing pitcher, and then serve. For each resteep, you will steep for decreasing time intervals as the leaves open up and you explore each beautiful expression of the leaves.

How to Brew Aged Tea

Explore brewing aged tea in a yixing pot with Hayley