preparation of pu erh tea

Whether it is loose or compressed into a cake, this black tea requires a special preparation. To take advantage of its benefits, it is necessary to use adequate equipment, such as a Yixing teapot or a Gaiwan. Also, it is better to follow a customary method in China: the Gong Fu Cha. Here is how to prepare a Pu Erh tea, in order to preserve its quality and flavors.

Accessories to prepare a Pu Erh tea

You use a classic teapot to brew your teas? You can use it for your Pu Erh, but you will appreciate less its quality. For a better tasting, we prefer a Chinese tea set composed of :

  • a Gaiwan or a Yixing teapot ;
  • a small cup or several ;
  • a tea pitcher or a second teapot;
  • a pair of tongs, to handle the heated items.

A Gaiwan is a small bowl with a lid. It can be made of glass or porcelain. It allows to see the color of the infusion. It is also used for other teas, such as Oolong tea or green teas.
A Yixing clay teapot has the particularity of "capturing" the aromas. Indeed, tannin is deposited in its porous material during the infusion. This type of teapot is appreciated for strong teas.
To avoid flooding your table, place your tea set on a special tea tray: the boat.
If your Pu Erh is loose, you can start brewing. But how to prepare a Pu Erh tea if you have wafers? You need a tea punch, to collect the leaves.

Picking tea leaves from a tea cake

Depending on how it is made, your fermented black tea cake is more or less compressed. In order to preserve the benefits and the taste of your Pu Erh, it is necessary to detach the leaves delicately, without breaking them.
To begin, place your cake on a dedicated tray or on a paper. Do not start your cake on one side. Its shape should be maintained as it is used. Locate an indentation on the top of your cake. Take the punch and place it between two layers of horizontal sheets. Rotate the punch in small increments until you lift a layer. Repeat until you have the desired amount of tea. It takes about 5 to 10 grams per 25 cl, depending on the fermentation of the teas.
Keep only the leaves and discard the crumbs. They can alter the taste of your infusion. Let's go to the practice and see how to prepare a Pu Erh tea.

Gong Fu Cha step by step

Your leaves and accessories are ready. Here are the steps of this traditional Chinese method:

  • Rinse and heat the equipment in boiling water
  • Put the Pu Erh tea leaves in the Gaiwan or teapot
  • Cover them with water at high temperature (90 to 95 °C) for a few seconds, in order to rinse and unroll them
  • Pour this first infusion over the rest of the accessories
  • Empty the different containers, handling them with the tongs
  • Repeat the operation, leaving to infuse a little longer
  • Pour the infusion into the pitcher, then into the cup
  • Wait a few minutes and then enjoy!

Note that with the same quantity of leaves, you can make about ten infusions. This depends, among other things, on the fermentation process.
Gong Fu Cha has several advantages. The small containers allow you to quickly lower the temperature of the drink. And putting the tea in the pitcher prevents the leaves from brewing too long, which spoils the flavors.

In addition to its flavors, this fermented tea from Yunnan, helps control cholesterol. This makes it a high quality product. It requires a few minutes of your time before tasting. But now you know how to prepare a Pu Erh tea to enjoy all its benefits.