DIY – Homemade Sicily Mandarin Imperial Pu’er Tea

Wenzhuo Liu

Mandarin Peel Pu’er 柑普 [gān pǔ] Tea is made of tangerine peel (Citrus reticulata Blanco) from Xinhui of Guangdong Province and ripe Pu’er tea from Yunnan Province, through special producing processes. It combines the fruit flavor of Xinhui tangerine and the taste of Yunnan Pu‘er tea, which makes peel and tea absorb each other’s essence, forming a unique flavor and a unique taste. Its health care effect naturally has both advantages. My husband went to Sardinia Italy on a working trip. He mentioned to me that there was a citrus orchard near his residence. Unfortunately, the fruits did not ripen yet, they were still green. I was inspired and asked him to bring some back for me. I then made the green mandarin Pu’er tea by myself, after tasting it, I found it was quite fresh and tasty. Recently, my friend gave me the ripe mandarins from her orchard in Sicily. I can’t miss such good materials, so I started to process again, and take photos to share with you.

Here we used ripe mandarins and Gongting- Imperial Pu’er. Cut mandarins open and remove all inner parts, then directly filled dry tea into the mandarin. Normally in China, workers use the Pu’er tender tea or bud tea to fill in, Gongting Pu’er tea is bud tea, it is small and convenient to fill in. There are many ways to dry, the best way to dry is to dry in the sun for a few days. In the season of insufficient sunlight, first dry in the sun for two or three days so that the mandarin peel and tea can absorb essence from each other gradually, and then use other methods to dry at 80-110 ℃, better at low temperature, such as dehydration machine, drying machine, oven, etc., for about 18 hours, we used dehydrator here at low temperature in order to keep original tea fragrances.

Small size mandarins normally need 10-12 hours to dry completely, big mandarins normally cost much more time and patience, it would be the best to check regularly, these big mandarins on the photos were dehydrated for 20 hours. Pay attention to adjusting the temperature to prevent excessive temperature from damaging the volatile oil on the surface of the peel and causing carbon coke. When the mandarin peels turn wrinkled and crisp, at the same time, the smell of citrus volatile oil became very strong, it is the right time to stop. Each mandarin should be wrapped up with paper individually, clean rice paper could be a good choice, finally, put it in a sealed tea bag.

2017 green mandarin from Sardinia vs. 2018 ripe mandarin from Sicily

When brewing, you can use a ceramic tea set with a water temperature of 100 ℃, and you can brew more than six times. The fragrance is fresh and pure, mandarin fruit aroma, the taste is clear, sweet and fruity with a sweet aftertaste. In particular, on the soup surface is usually covered by oil droplets, the tea soup is very brilliant and bright, and the tea tasting process is a feast for vision, smell and taste. Because of different peel materials, even with same tea fillers, their tastes and fragrances could differ greatly from each other. For example, the green mandarin Pu’er tea has a pleasant sour but with a sweet aftertaste, very fresh and smooth, and the ripe mandarin Pu’er tea is much more mellow and sweeter.

2017 green mandarin from Sardinia vs. 2018 ripe mandarin from Sicily

In China, tangerine peel (Citrus reticulata Blanco) is commonly used, it is also as a traditional Chinese medicine Chen Pi 陈皮, which has the effect of regulating Qi, strengthening spleen, drying dampness and resolving phlegm. If you are processing at home, you can smell the fruits first, and find your favorite flavor of orange, mandarin, tangerine, pomelo and lemon etc. those that have not been sprayed with pesticides or organic are the best. Green or ripe fruits, all could be chosen as peel materials, white tea, oolong tea, black tea and dark tea as filler materials, dry flowers are also considered as proper fillers, rose, jasmine…

Gan Hong Green Mandarin Rose Yunnan Black Tea

Xiao Qing Gan Green Mandarin Yunnan Gongting Shu Pu’er Dark Tea

San Bao Cha Ripe Mandarin Fujian Gongmei White Tea

You Cha Pomelo Fujian Eight Immortals Oolong Tea

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