Friday, January 9, 2009

Puerh Menghai Lang He Chi Tse Beeng Tea 9599

We visited the new Focus Market in downtown Emei City yesterday to buy a few chocolates for Thailand. In addition, Sunee bought her sister a cute little teapot, a little bigger than the one I got. Many things were on sale for the upcoming Chinese New Year. One of the items on sale that caught my attention was a Puerh Cake I had seen each time we had visited the market. It was on sale for less than half price so we bought it to try. As one of the tea bloggers (can't remember who) stated - buy puerh that you like. Here is my take on this puerh.

This is the cake we bought. This particular cake cost 56 Yuan or 58 Yuan depending on where you buy it in the local department stores. We bought this cake for 28 Yuan which is about half the normal price. We thought we would give it a try.

I am totally clueless about Puerh Tea. I do not understand what I am reading when I do research on the internet. I have only bought a few interesting cakes and I do like them very much. I will only buy puerh that I like per the blogger expert's advice.

What are we looking for in a good puerh? I don't have a clue. The cake we bought last time in Chengdu had a bunch of silver leaves. In fact, it was almost entirely light colored leaves throughout. Believe that is what is known as "tippy." It means the tea leaves are new and young. As you can see from the this picture and the following one, this cake has almost no "tippy" to it. They are all dark.

I understand that the leaves are oxidized then steamed and then pressed together to make the cakes. The process differs depending on what the final outcome of the tea is meant to be. What is the final outcome of this tea? Clueless!

The only thing that counts is the end product or the tea that one plans on drinking. The end product in this case made us go back and get three more of these cakes while they were still on sale and before we go to Thailand. Had some more of this puerh when we got back from buying the three cakes. It is good and that, so all the puerh people will tell you, is all that matters.


Bret said...

Howdy folks, I just stumbled upon your blog. Interesting reading. It would be a dream vacation for me to do what you guys do, traveling to China and shop for tea and tea wares. Keep up the good work and have fun.

Bret said...

The Puerh you have there is a cooked (shu) Puerh. Which means it,s been processed in a way where the fermentation process has been accelerated by means of spraying water on the leaves and letting them more or less compost. This is not the traditional Puerh Tea. Raw (Sheng) Puerh is left in it,s green state and left to ferment naturally over time (years) but the flavors are much different than cooked Puerh. Raw Puerh tea is the Puerh that most Pu-heads are interested in. Although there is nothing wrong with Shu Puerh it still needs time, maybe 5-10 years to mellow out and lose that cooked smell and taste. Theres a big difference between the two types of Puerh. I have some of each kind but generally it,s considered that young Puerh is not drinkable. The flavors are too agressive and overly bitter. But there are exceptions to that. A good source for info about Puerh would be Hou De Asian Art. They are an exellent tea vendor here in the states that specialize in Puerh and Taiwan Oolongs. I hope this helps a little in the basics of Puerh but in my scattershot approach to writting maybe not.

Anonymous said...

I DONT DRING CHINESE TEAS AnYMORE. europeans tested it on chemicals and found more poison than in blue pills wich people use to kill rats.

my tip to find a fake;
Puerh is not pressed you can break it very easely.
this shit is just cheap black tea.

Aside that there is no such "Cooked Puerh".

Cecil Hill said...

To Anonymous:

Cooked Puerh tea

The raw material for cooked Puerh tea is made from Yunnan large tea leaf bush. The fresh leaves are pilled and undergo a process of fermentation. This changes the colour of the leaves into yellowish brown. This process can take several months and is known as "cooking" while it actually means "maturing". After that cooked puerh can be compressed into a cake (of different shapes) or it can be kept as loose leaves.

I live at the base of Emei Mountain, one of the premier green tea producing mountains in the world. I have visited many of the tea plantations on Emei's sides and have personal contact with one of the biggest producers of tea in the area - Sichuan Mt. Emei City Tea Factory as well as Sichuan Emei-shan Zhuyeqing Tea Company. These people are not stupid and have built a worldwide following of their tea. NO CHEMICALS are used in their teas or the tea plantations I visited. That is not to say that some of the tea I bought from sidewalk vendors here who have small plantations do not use chemicals.

Notice the stamp that looks like an S on the outside of the "cooked puerh" in the puerh picture. This was bought at a big super market very similar to Walmart. That "S" is supposed to represent government met specs on health which should mean chemical free.

Now if you have more information than the owner of the above tea companies who have rooms full of international awards for organically grown tea, please provide it along with your blog so I can read where you are coming from.

I would really hate to have to moderate this blog because it is being done out of enjoyment and not animosity toward anyone.

If you have proof please provide it for the benefit of all of us who continue to drink Chinese teas.

Bret said...

I think anonymous wrote that for the sake of getting a reaction. I wouldnt let it bother me. Or you can always just delete it.

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