Puer Tea< Return
Puer Tea (普洱茶) According to the definition by the Yunnan Quality and Technical Control Bureau (雲南省質量技術監督局) in 2006 (document ref: DB53/103-2006), “Puer tea is a special geographical produce in Yunnan province. It is manufactured in accordance with certain technical processes from special sun-drying raw materials of Yunnan broad species planted in optimum environment so that puer tea carries special characteristics. Puer tea can be further classified into 2 categories, the raw Puer and the ripe Puer.”
The unofficial definition by the market is slightly different, but the principle is more or less the same that “Puer Tea is a collective name for (1) newly made loose leaf tea or compressed tea manufactured from sun-drying raw materials of Yunnan broad-leaf species; (2) naturally aged loose leaf tea or compressed tea manufactured from sun-drying raw materials of Yunnan broad-leaf species; and (3) loose-leaf tea or compressed tea manufactured from artificially fermented sun-drying raw materials of Yunnan broad-leaf species Categories (1) & (2) are called raw Puer also known as traditional Puer Tea. While category (3) is called ripe Puer or modern Puer Tea.”
The definition of Puer Tea by the market is more representational that it includes the naturally aged Puer under the raw Puer category.
See also" Raw Puer and “Ripe Puer”
See “Puer tea” Abbreviation of Puer Tea
Puerh Tea (普洱)
See “Puer Tea” Alternative name for Puer Tea
See “Puer Tea” Alternative name for Puer
Raw Puer (普洱生茶) It is one of the categories of Puer Tea. It is usually compressed tea manufactured from fresh tea leaves of Yunnan broad-leaf species planted in optimum environment. After the process of preparatory fixation, twisting and rolling, sun-drying and steaming and compression, the raw materials will be compressed into different shapes. The general characteristics of raw Puer are its blackish green dry tea leaves, fresh aroma rich aftertaste with its clear yellowish tea broth and its plump tea leaves after brewing.
Although raw Puer can be in the form of loose-leaf, it is rare to find some loose-leaf raw Puer in the market because it is difficult for loose-leaf tea to be stored for a long period of time without a container Compressed raw Puer has its convenience and advantages during the storage Compression also reduces the unnecessary space between tea leaves so that a compressed tea cake needs less space for long term storage With the appropriate raw materials and storage conditions, raw Puer will develop Into a vintage which offers a mellow amber or tea broth when it matures, despite of Its astringent taste at its young age.
See also “Puer Tea”, “Ripe Puer”, “Artificial Fermentation” and “Compressed Tea”
Naturally Fermented Puer (普洱生茶) See “Raw Puer”. Alternative name for Raw Puer. It refers to the Puer tea that is not undergoing the process of artificial fermentation.
See also “Ripe Puer” and “Artificial Fermentation”
Raw Tea (普洱生茶) See “Raw Puerh”. Alternative name for Raw Puer.
Sheng Tea (普洱生茶) See “Raw Puer”. The word “Sheng” is the honetic transcription of Chinese character “Sheng (生)” which means “raw”. “Sheng tea” means raw tea.
Uncooked Tea (普洱生茶) See Raw Puer. This is an inappropriate translation. The market generally uses this term to mean raw Puer because uncooked is the antonym of cooked. However neither raw Puer nor ripe Puer has any connection with cooking. For details, please refer to Cooked Tea.
See also “Cooked Tea”.
Ripe Puer (普洱熟茶) It is one of the categories of Puer tea. It is loose-leaf tea or compressed tea manufactured from special sun-drying raw materials of Yunnan broad-leaf species planted in optimum environment, after undergoing the process of artificial fermentation (or called Wodui
in Chinese 渥堆). The general characteristics of ripe Puer are its reddish-brown dry tea leaves, woody or earthy aroma, mellow but not too vivid aftertaste with its clear reddish-brown tea broth and its reddish brown non soft brewed tea leaves.
The purpose of artificial fermentation is to remove the astringent taste of the special sun-drying raw materials of Yunnan broad-leaf species within a short period of time in order to sell the tea product to the market for consumption as soon as possible so that ripe Puer can fulfil the huge Puer tea demand.
As the ripe Puer has been quickly mellowed by the artificial fermentation process, it does not require a long-term storage to remove the natural astringency of the raw materials. The process usually takes several weeks or months in the tea factory. Because of its astringency free nature, it can be consumed by tea lovers without further storage. Nevertheless, one should note that although ripe Puer has its mellow taste, the “mellowness” of ripe Puer is still definitely different from the true mellowness of naturally aged raw Puer converted by decades of aging time. This explains why a well-aged raw Puer tea cake is usually a double price of a ripe Puer tea cake even though they were from same production year.
Since the storage period of ripe Puer is much shorter than that of the raw Puer the overall costs of storing ripe Puer is lower so that ripe Puer is the major Puer tea consumed in the Chinese restaurants. However, the compressed ripe tea is inconvenient to the restaurants because they need extra staff to break the tea cakes. Loose-leaf tea is welcomed by restaurants instead. Because of the fast consumption and no necessity for long term storage much of the ripe Puer is generally manufactured in its loose-leaf form.
Some tea connoisseurs would love to hoard ripe Puer tea cakes although there is not much room for improvement. However, they believe that after some years of aging ripe Puer will still improve. At least, it will give a better taste than what it offers when it is just manufactured. Tea connoisseurs are of the views that time can relieve the earthy taste generated from the fermentation after storing the ripe Puer under certain appropriate conditions for several years. They believe that ripe Puer will also give its richer and mellower tea broth if more time is given. See also “Puer Tea”, “Raw Puer”, and “Artificial Fermentation”.
Artificially Fermented Puer (普洱熟茶) See “Ripe Puer”. Alternative name for Ripe puer.
Ripe Tea (普洱熟茶) See “Ripe Puer”, Alternative name for Ripe Puer.
Shou Tea (熟茶) See “Ripe Puer”. The word “Shou” is the phonetic transcription of Chinese character “Shou (熟)” which means “ripe”. “Shou Tea” means ripe tea.
Cooked Tea (熟茶) See “Ripe Puerh”. This translation is inappropriate. Although the market sometimes names the artificially fermented Puer as “cooked tea”, this nomenclature is conceptually wrong and cannot reflect the manufacturing process of ripe Puer.
According to Collins Cobuild English Dictionary, the word “cook” refers to “1. When you cook a meal, you prepare food for eating and then heat it, for example in a saucepan. 2. When you cook food, or when food cooks, it is heated until it is ready to be eaten.” In Oxford Dictionary, cook Means “prepare (food) by heating, e.g. boiling, baking, roasting frying. Dictionaries clarify that the word cook implies a concept of heating. External heat is applied in order to cook food. It would be a misleading concept that “cooked tea” is cooked by certain external heat. However, the process of artificial fermentation generates heat from the piles of fermenting tea leaves themselves.
It is possibly that the market calls ripe Puer as "cooked tea is due to the reason that the Chinese character “Shou (熟)” literally means the status of food which has been done and ready for serving after cooking. However, emphasis must be added that ripe Puer has nothing to do with cooking" the raw Puer, Artificial fermentation is a well-controlled process without applying external heat continuously until the tea leaves become ripe. Therefore, ripe Puer is an appropriate translation for artificially fermented Puer instead of cooked tea.
See also “Raw Puerh”, “Ripe Puerh” and “Artificial Fermentation”.