Pu-erh tea has a history of over 1,700 years ago and was originated in the East Han Dynasty. However, cooked pu-erh (aka shu or ripened pu-erh) has a much shorter history of about half a century. Cooked pu-erh is made through an artificial fermentation technique which enables the tea to reach its desired quality in a short time. This pu-erh comes from one of the six famous tea mountains in Yunnan province which is Yiwu. Although, it is a relatively new tea from 2017 its taste gives away its quality. A few things have an impact on the quality of ripened pu-erh tea including plucking time, refinement of plucked buds and leaves (manual selection of buds/leaves for a premium product), mastery during the pile fermentation process, and its age.
The name of this tea comes from a little town in the Yunnan Province called Puer where the tea was discovered however, it is produced all over the Yunnan province. Pu-erh tea is made out of tea trees (some of them are several centuries’ old) and tea bushes from Yunnan which have big leaves. These plants are varietals of camellia assamica rather than camellia sinensis. Probably, if Puer was part of the EU, the pu-erh tea production would be restricted to Yunnan province only (similar to champagne with a Protected Geographical Status). I am saying this because I have come across some unsuccessful examples of pu-erh coming from other tea growing countries. To conclude, it is safe to say pu-erh tea comes from Yunnan and in Yunnan, there are six famous tea mountains where you should try to source your tea from Yiwu, Manda, Manzhuan, Yibang, Gedeng and Youle.
Although immature, I enjoyed this pu-erh from Yiwu. It would reach its greatest taste in about 8 years. Not sure if I can wait that long to try it again.
Origin: Yiwu, Yunnan
Harvest time: Spring 2017
Leave colour: Dark maroon
Liquor colour: Clear, dark red
Tea aroma: Earthy
Tea taste: Mellow and smooth
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: 10 years and more(to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)