Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trying Pu-erh tea

I rarely drink Chinese tea, but the other day, I got pu-erh tea from a friend of mine.    I don’t have any Chinese tea utensils and don’t know the proper preparation.  I just learned some tips from him.

The major differences from Japanese preparation that I noticed are as follows:
  • Consuming plenty of tea leaf
  • Rinsing the leaves
  • High temperature water
  • Shorter brewing time
  • Multiple brewing

Knowing these preparations surprised me that pu-erh leaves can be brewed more than ten times if it is in good quality or condition.

When I tried to prepare for the first try, it was a failure because the tea got too strong.  The second try went pretty well, tea was very smooth with an elegant floral aroma. It had much rich fragrant than Japanese teas which is like a smell of flowers and a note like cinnamon.  When I smelled the remaining scent in the cup after drinking, I smelled sweet caramel aroma.  The tea doesn’t have greenish bitterness like Japanese sencha has.  The bitterness of pu-erh is milder with a soil like smell. I liked this tea and enjoy finding the differences from Japanese teas. 

I took the tea set to my desk and I’m writing this article.  Now, I’m enjoying the fifth brewing.  The flavor is slightly changing but still has the good aroma.  I’m impressed with it.  Chinese tea might be good to drink at office because you can prepare it the same tea over and over while you are working.  Chinese tea has charms that Japanese tea doesn’t have.  (The opposite is equally true.)  Again, the Chinese tea aroma is excellent!  It is fun to explore tea from different country.  You can find a new way of enjoying tea.  


  1. Hello there, My name is May and I am a writer myself. I was wondering is there any way possible for me to take some of your picture on Japanese tea ceremony here to put on another website?

    Do let me know =)


  2. Hello Kohei.
    Just wanted to say: this is excellent reading!
    I think it's the best tea-blog now. I learn so much about Japanese tea, but also about Japanese culture and everyday ordinary life in Japan. Something I find very interesting
    Good job that you have kept it up so long also, most blogs just fade away after a while.
    You got a mind of an explorer, wanting to find out about everything. I really like that

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I’m interested in Japanese tea and culture, and I want to learn more about them myself. I’m really glad to know that you like my blog. Thank you.

  3. I am a little bit confused by your 5 points above. I wonder if I read them the opposite way, but then again not all of them make sense reversed either.
    Pu-erh does indeed require hotter water that most of the Japanese teas. But usually less leaves, longer brewing times and less steps of multiple extraction.
    I rarely brew pu-erh more than once, while I usually do so for sencha and gyokuro.
    Pu-erh is a really tough one to start with.

    I find the High Mountain tea from Taiwan (高山茶,gāoshān chá) to be closer to the Japanese teas, yet too floral for many. If you want to go close to red/black teas - Yunnan Gold (金芽滇紅;jīnyá diānhóng) may be a better start, followed by Keemun (祁門紅茶; qímén hóngchá)
    Thanks for the great posts!

    1. I might be wrong. I just learned it from my friend.

      Thanks for the information. I’ll try those teas that you’ve mentioned if I have a chance.

  4. I love the article. I'm preparing an article about Pu'er for my blog too soon! I myself am a Pu'er fanatic and collect it. What is important to note when making Pu'er is the age of the tea, what conditions it was matured in, and what time of year it was harvested in. Hope you enjoyed your Pu'er experience ^_^.

    1. Hi, Johnathan, Yah, I’ve heard that some aged Pu-er are excellent and very expensive. I wish someday I can try one of those fantastic Pu-er. You might have one in your collection already, haha.

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