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Lesson #35. Brewing Pu'er and Dark Tea in a Teapot

Please note!

Brew 7 grams of tea per 100 ml.

The water temperature is 100 °C.

Pour out the first steeping.

In Yunnan when selecting tea-ware for brewing pu’er people adhere to the following principle: use gaiwan for raw sheng up to age of 5 and if you want to open the taste of shu pu’er and mature sheng, choose Yixing teapots. In order to get the right taste of tea, take 7 grams of tea leaves per 100 milliliters of 100 °C water. First step is to preheat the tea-ware with boiling water and get rid of dust. Pouring water into the teapot, always pour over the edge: this way you will create a water lock that will improve the brewing of pu’er.

Why do we use gaiwan for young sheng and for other dark teas we need a teapot? The matter is, a teapot is good for keeping warmth, steaming the tea leaf even in the absence of water. It helps to fully open mature sheng, dark teas and shu pu’er and to show all their subtle taste nuances. In other words, a teapot amplifies the scent and the taste of fermented teas. And a young sheng pu’er is more like a green tea. Its taste is bright, daring, and tart. Its saturated flavors fully open during the steepings and if you put it into a teapot, it’s going to be even sharper, bringing out the herbal taste of immature leaf. Steaming the leaf between the steepings adds a depth note which during the ripening period of pu’er distorts its taste, divesting it of freshness.

Gently put pu’er into a teapot. You can flake off the tea to individual leaves, or you can brew not the largest leaves. If you throw one big piece of pu’er right out of the cake, it won’t open its taste fully until it’s steamed through, break apart and soften. During the first steeping we wash the tea leaf and steam it to enhance the taste. We pour out the first infusion. Yixing teapots are often rinsed with tea, and after a tea ceremony it is well wiped with a towel so that the teapot is soaked with tea from all sides. After a while, the teapot is covered with a noble tea patina.

At this point, you can learn the scent of tea. During the second steeping, we are already getting the infusion we can serve to the guests. There is no need to brew it for too long, the taste will already be bright. Pu’er can be brewed at least 10 times. At the end of the brewing, you can keep a little tea with water in the teapot to strengthen its taste.

Have a nice tea!

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