Aged tea should be rinsed prior to its first infusion. To do this, you simply cover the tea in water of the same temperature that you use to brew for about 5 seconds and use that water to warm your pitcher, if using, and tea cup. This process begins hydration of the leaves and provides a more generous first infusion.
Aged teas may be infused many times in a gaiwan or yixing pot, 3 to 4 at the very least and up to 10 or 15 for the highest quality examples. The first infusion would be the longest at 20-30 seconds, decrease the next few infusions to approx. 10 seconds, and then increase to the following steep lengths as needed. It is important to feel free to explore the tea, as each tea will call for a different relationship of time, temperature and water quantity. Discover the unfolding expressions of the tea, steep after steep.
If brewing in a western style teapot, rinse the leaves and then brew at 200° for 3-5 minutes depending on your taste. The leaves may be resteeped several times.
What is Pu Er Tea?
Pu Er tea is the world's oldest continually made agrarian product; its history stretches back at least 5000 years. Coming chiefly from China's Yunnan province, it is often sourced from wild, ancient tea trees, some in excess of 1000 years old. Coming in two styles, Pu Er is a fermented tea and is the only tea designed to be aged for prolonged periods of time. The classic style, called Sheng or green Pu Er, is fermented at low temperature over a period of months and is then traditionally pressed into cakes and aged for 25 years or more to its maturity. It is bright and spicy with notes of mushrooms, white pepper, and mint. The modern style, called Shou or black Pu Er, is fermented at a higher temperature and matured more quickly. It has a pronounced earthiness and a certain meaty umami scent. Both teas are exceptional and have been used as traditional Chinese medicine for millennia.
Health Benefits of Pu Er Tea
Congratulations, if you are drinking tea, you have already chosen an incredible, healthful beverage. Tea is considered in many cultures to have medicinal properties. All tea comes from the same plant family, camellia sinensis and therefore all types and styles contain the same components that contribute to significant health benefits. Influence of the varietal, growing conditions, production techniques and your own brewing practices play a role in the antioxidant and caffeine levels in your cup. Pu Er has for millennia been proscribed in traditional Chinese medicine for blood purification, weight loss, and even alcoholism. So enjoy a cup of tea, any tea, and know that you are drinking health.