5. June 2017

Dark Tea


Dark Tea

Dark tea 黑茶 [hēi chá] has many varieties and a long history back to around the 11th century, at that time of Northern Song Dynasty (1074) there was already the recordation of producing dark color tea from green tea. Dark tea belongs to post fermented tea, its fermentation degree will change with time. This kind of tea is mainly sold to Russia and other countries, as well as China’s border areas, most of which are sold domestically and a few are sold overseas. Therefore, it is customary to make the pressed tea made of dark tea into border selling tea. The earliest dark tea was produced in Sichuan. It was a border selling tea made of green Mao Cha by steaming and pressing. At first, the older green tea entered the tea horse exchange market. Due to the inconvenient transportation, especially Sichuan tea has to go through the Shu Road, climb the mountains and cross the Qinling Mountains. It is transported by horses and people. The transportation time on the way is very long. In addition, the packaging is simple, the moisture-proof function is poor, the sun and rain accelerate the aging of the tea, which is completely different from the quality of the original tea after arriving at the destination. The sales area adapted to this flavor. This phenomenon was fed back to the production area. Sichuan steamed pile fermented green tea and used the principle of heat and humidity to remove the coarse astringency of green tea. Hunan reformed the primary process and really created the primary dark tea by using the biochemical action of microbial extracellular enzymes. With a history of more than 400 years, the four major tea areas in China have produced dark tea, including Hunan dark tea (Anhua tea), Hubei dark tea (old Qing tea), Sichuan (South Road border tea and West Road border tea), Yunnan and Guangxi dark tea (Pu’er and Liubao).

The main processing process, green killing, rolling, wet/ water piling, drying. The fresh leaves of dark tea are coarser and older. They inhibit the enzymatic reaction by killing green. They are piled up before and after drying. In the process, there are many leaves, high temperature and humidity and long time, which promote the full automatic oxidation of polyphenols and the transformation of other substances. The consumption rate of catechin is relatively large, which makes the aroma of dark tea more mellow and dark. Wodui is to pile up the rolled leaves. Through the damp and heat effect in the pile and some microbial effects, some astringent and coarse taste are removed, and the chlorophyll is destroyed, so that the leaf color changes from dark green to yellowish brown, forming the quality characteristics of dark tea, orange yellow, mellow taste and so on. The process of pile fermentation is essentially a post fermentation process. Dark Mao Cha can be processed into basket packed dark tea (Xiangjian and Liubao square bag), pressed dark tea (dark brick tea, Hua brick, Fu brick, Kangzhuan, Jinjian), pressed sun dried dark tea (Qing brick, Tight tea, Round cake tea). Tea Blog


Liubao Tea

Liubao tea is a kind of dark tea with unique quality characteristics, it is native and mainly produced in Liubao Town, Wuzhou, Guangxi province. Liubao tea started in the Tang and Song Dynasties and flourished in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. During the Jiaqing period of the Qing Dynasty (1796-1820), Liubao tea became one of the famous Chinese teas for its special betel nut flavor. Nowadays, the products are sold well in various provinces and cities in China, Hong Kong and Macao, Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe and America, etc. People who have drunk Liubao tea will have a special preference for its “Chinese red”. The Liubao tea industry believes that the cultural charm and national characteristics of “Chinese red” must be taken as the criterion to make Liubao tea embark on the road of rejuvenation. The fresh leaves of Cangwu county group species, Guangxi large and medium-sized leaf species and their isolated and selected varieties are selected as raw materials and processed according to specific technology. Liubao tea is famous for its “red, thick, aged and mellow”. Dry tea shape is long and tight, the color of the soup is red, the aroma is thick, and the taste is mellow and delicious, it should be with pine smoke and betel nut palm flavor, wet leaf copper brown color.
Liubao tea is packed in bamboo basket, after steaming and kneading, the raw tea is packed in a basket and compacted. Then, it is placed in a dry place and stored in the air for several months. After natural fermentation, the tea is compacted and lumped, Liubao basket tea with unique mellow and stale flavor can be formed. The traditional bamboo basket packaging is conducive to the continuous transformation of the contents of tea during storage, which makes the taste mellow, the color of the soup deepened and the fragrance revealed. Liubao loose tea can be steamed and molded into Liubao cake tea, Liubao brick tea, Liubao bowl tea, etc. Scientific experiments and tea tasting practice of Liubao tea lovers have proved that Liubao tea contains more lipolytic enzymes than other teas except for a variety of amino acids, vitamins and trace elements necessary for human body. Therefore, Liubao tea sets have stronger effect of decomposing greasy, reducing body fat compounds, cholesterol and triglycerides. Long term drinking can strengthen stomach, nourish spirit, lose weight and keep fit.

 

Lao Cha Po, Old Tea Lady, also known as Shuangjiang old tea lady, is made from old leaves of Liubao tea tree picked one week before and after Shuangjiang. Lao Cha Po is the honorific name of Liubao people for the old tea in the tea tree. Adding the word “Lao” in front of it does not refer to the old tea with a year, but refers to the old leaf. It is a product variety of Liubao tea in Guangxi.

 

Cha Guo Ke, Tea Fruit shell, a kind of Liubao tea, is one of the traditional Chinese tea products. The fruit of Liubao tea tree can not mature until late October of the next year after flowering in November. The peel of the fruit is brown, kidney shaped or spherical, and a few are long. In the past, most thrifty tea farmers were reluctant to leave the tea sprouts and middle leaves that could be exchanged for money for their own consumption. Therefore, most of them made Lao Cha Po or this kind of tea fruit shell to drink. Every year, the tea farmers pick and sun- dry the tea fruit. Because the dried tea fruit cracks, most of the tea seeds are separated from the shell. Because the tea seeds are bitter, most of the tea farmers choose to only take the shell and keep it for a certain year. Especially when the weather is hot, a large teapot of tea fruit is cooked and put in a big bowl to cool down. When farmers come back from working in the field at the head of the village, they can drink it and feel immediately comfortable and refreshing all over. In particular, some of the good quality, stored for a certain period of time of tea fruit shell, has a very unique fragrance, soup color red as amber, taste mellow refreshing, it has a charm! After brewing, the aroma is attractive, the color is yellow red, especially good to drink. In addition, the shell of tea fruit also contains lignin, tea saponins, amino acids, fat, vitamins and other substances, which can relieve fat, improve greasiness, promote metabolism, and antioxidation.

 


 

Kang Brick and Tibetan Tea

Kangzhuan Kang Brick was created around 1074, mainly using raw materials from Ya’an and Leshan in Sichuan, and then expanded to Yibin and Chongqing. Kangzhuan is mainly sold in Western Sichuan and Tibet, with Kangding and Lhasa as the center, and in Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan Ganzi and other Tibetan areas. Kangzhuan has brown appearance, pure aroma, mellow taste, thick soup color.

Fangbao tea, is one of the basket type fried and pressed dark tea. It originated in Guanxian County, Sichuan Province, is a main variety of West roadside tea. It is named because the raw tea is built and pressed in a square strip woven bag. In the past, tea along the west road was carried by horses, each carrying two bags, so it was also called “horse tea”. The raw materials of fresh leaves of fangbao tea are coarser and older than south roadside tea. It is made by cutting 1-2-year-old mature branches and directly sun drying as Mao Cha. The form pressing process of square tea includes steaming tea, holding pile, weighing tea, frying tea, building bag, sealing bag, burning bag and airing bag. West Road side tea, referred to as west side tea for short, is a border selling tea produced in Guanxian county and north Sichuan Province. It is packaged in woven bags. The rectangular bag produced in Guanxian county is called square bag tea; the round bag produced in Beichuan is called round bag tea. Now the round bag tea has been discontinued and processed according to the specification of square bag tea.
Yigong ecological tea farm is the highest altitude organic tea production base in China and the earliest tea farm in Tibet Autonomous Region. The unique geographical environment and climate conditions of the tea farm have created a pure and ecological environment in the tea field. Yigong tea farm is rich in snow plateau tea. It was founded in 1960 and had introduced Sichuan medium and small leaf tea plants from Mengding tea farm in Mingshan County, Sichuan Province, and successfully adopted sexual propagation. The old tea tree of Linzhi tea can still be seen now, and now, it is the colorful scenery of a thousand mu tea garden. Today, there are still more than 400 workers in Linzhi tea farm, almost all of them are Tibetans.
The Tibetan tea produced mostly refers to the tea sold to Tibet. It is generally produced in Hunan, Sichuan, Yunnan and other places, not in Tibet. “The most authentic Tibetan tea” of Linchi is well-known, it is not only produced in Nyingchi, but also sold in Tibet. Because of its high quality and mellow taste, the price of Linzhi’s Tibetan tea is more than ten times higher than that of other provinces. Even so, the output is often in short supply. Besides the traditional production of dark tea, there are also a lot of black tea and green tea.
The melting snow water from the snow mountain converges into a stream, murmuring among the mountains and forests, the Yigong river flows slowly, and there are many fruit trees planted in the garden. In early autumn, those pears, apples, grapes and nectarines are very sweet. The melting snow water on the snow mountain converges into a stream and moistens the tea trees all the year round. There is also a famous iron mountain in front of the tea garden. The iron produced by Yigong is of excellent quality. Therefore, Yigong is also a famous producer of Tibetan knives with exquisite workmanship.

 


Anhua Dark Tea

Dark tea of Anhua, Hunan province, it is used big leaves of the tea variety from local mountian areas, raw materials need to be roasted, rolled, pile-fermented and dried, then naturally ageing process is also necessary. Anhua dark tea can be pressed into many different forms (brick, cake, coin, chocolate or cylinder etc.).

 


 

Wudang Fu Brick

Nowadays, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangxi provinces are the main producing regions, dark tea is the third biggest yield tea sort which is next only to green and black tea. Fu Brick 茯砖 [fú zhuān] tea is a special kind of dark tea, the mystery tea of ancient Chinese Silk Road. Wudang Fu Brick is uesed tea leaves from Wudang  Mountian areas as crude materials. Its production is complicated, which  includes 28 steps:

6 fermentations: 1st change leaves color (pile-fermentation), 2nd need at least 12 months (cold fermentation), 3rd sterilize and disinfect by a high temperature steam, 4th steam pile-fermentation after blending, 5th put in constant-temperature chambers to produce “golden flower” (Eurotium Cristatum) Fahua 发花 [fā huā] and 6th is post-fermentation.

After the 4th fermentation, tea leaves are made into brick-like forms which sould look smooth, clean-cut and with the same thickness and firmness. The unique 5th fermentation procedure (Fahua) is the natural fermentation under the effects of the activities of the microbes, produces many golden yellow granules (Eurotium Cristatum). Denser and larger granules with the bright golden Color are considered to be better, tea soup color should be bright orange with pure fragrance and mellow flavour, rich golden flower aroma. Wudang Fu bricks have many different flovours mainly depending on tea leaf materials, fermented degrees, aged years and etc..

For example, Wudang Silver Brow uses early summer harvested tea leaves (1shoot and 3-4 leaves) between 立夏 Beginning of Summer (7th solar term) and the 小暑 Slight Heat (11th solar term), Wudang Golden Peak uses later spring harvested leaves before Beginning of Summer, although both teas are strong fermented, flavours are slightly different by sweetnesses and feeling mouthfuls.

 


 

Yangloudong Brick Tea

Qing Brick 青砖 [qīng zhuān] is one kind of dark tea, fresh tea leaves of altitude 600-1200m mountains are used as raw materials, and then steamed and pressed at  high temperature. Its producing area is mainly in the Yangtze Rive Valley of the south  and southwest of Hubei Province, its origin of a 600 year history is the ancient Yangloudong town, Chibi, Hubei Province. A rectangular shape, a bluish brown color and a pure aroma are the typical characters of Qing Brick.

As early as the Zhenyuan period of the Tang Dynasty (around 795 AD), Lu Yu wrote the book of tea, which described that “tea was popular 尚茶成风” in China, and tea was planted and processed in Yangloudong (now Zhaoliqiao town) in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. According to Wanquan county annals of Hebei Province, in the middle of Jingde year (around 1006) of Song Dynasty, the government traded tea and horse with Mongolia by Hunan and Hubei cake tea, and Zhangjiakou was the “place of mutual market” between Mongolia and Han China. By the middle of the Ming Dynasty (about 1400 AD), the tea making industry in Yangloudong had been quite developed, and the tea making technology had been improved. After the initial processing, the tea had to be sifted, heated by steam, and then pressed into a cylindrical hat box tea, showing the rudiment of Qing brick tea. During the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty (1736-1790), Shanxi merchants set up several tea houses in Yangloudong, among which “Sanyuchuan” and “Jushengchuan” tea houses were more powerful. They established an alliance with the largest tea merchant “Dashengkui” in Mongolia, and their products enjoyed a high reputation among Mongolian herdsmen. The word “Chuan 川” was imprinted on the Qing brick tea to win people’s trust and distinguish it from other trade names. Brick tea produced in Yangloudong flows along the Yangtze River, against the Han River, to the Yellow River, and to the desert, it is re exported to European countries through Russia, with an average annual output of more than 40000 Dan. During the Xianfeng Period of the Qing Dynasty, the tea making technology was further improved, and brick tea production was carried out on a large scale, with 60-70 tea houses. The Qing brick tea with the word “Chuan” has the best quality, good reputation and the largest scale. When herdsmen go on the market to buy brick tea, they only recognize the word “Chuan” and only touch the three bars with their hands will they buy it without hesitation. After hundreds of years, Qing brick tea, a trade name with the word “Chuan”, has been popular among the people, and has been selling well up to now. In 1983, “Chuan” brand was officially registered as the trademark of Qingzhuan tea of Zhaoliqiao tea factory in Hubei Province, which gave this legendary “Chuan” brand a legal residence.

 


 

Wudang Qing Brick

Wudang Qing Brick 武当青砖  [wǔ qīng zhuān dāng] has similar processing processures as the Yangloudong Qing Brick, but fresh tea leaves are harvested from Wudang Mountain areas. After natual fermentations and  sterilizations, crude tea materials are pressed into molds, which shows in the following video. When  molds are cold, bricks formed and should be left to dry in controlled chambers.

 


Raw Pu’er, Dali, Dianmian, Laohei and Kucha Pu’er

Pu’er 普洱 [pǔ ěr] tea use local Yunnan big tea leaves as material, through processing steps: de-enzyming 杀青, rolling 揉捻, Shai Qing- sun dried 晒青 and drying 干燥, dry loose tea leaves could be afterwards steamed and pressed into different forms. Pu’er tea has also been lauded as the “drinkable antique”. The flavor and color of raw Pu’er Tea changes when properly stored over a period of time. Young raw Pu’er: The ideal liquors should be aromatic with a light but distinct odours of camphor, rich herbal notes like Chinese medicine, fragrance floral notes, hints of dried fruit aromas such as preserved plums, and should exhibit only some grassy notes. Young raw Pu’er may sometimes be quite bitter and astringent, but should also exhibit a pleasant mouthfeel and “sweet” aftertaste, referred to as gān (甘) and húigān(回甘).

 

Located in northern Burma and Yunnan, China, Camellia taliensis grows in the evergreen broad-leaved forest and the mixed forest of 1300 meters to 2700 meters above sea level. Dali tea is a wild relative of cultivated tea. The existing wild community of Dali tea is rare. In recent years, it has been found in the investigation of ancient tea resources, all of which are island like discontinuous distribution. Camellia taliensis chemical constituents have been analyzed, the content of caffeine and amino acid is low, and the commercial value is not big. The value of Dali tea is mainly used in the scientific research of tea, which is of great significance to the application of tea science and Technology (resistance breeding, genetic engineering) and the research of tea academic problems.

Dali tea has a long history of utilization and Cultivation in Yunnan, and its possible utilization can be traced back to the written records of Tang Dynasty. In the West and south of Yunnan, there used to be a large area of Dali tea garden in history, but in the past 100 or 200 years, they have been gradually replaced by C. sinensis var. assamica. At the beginning of this century, due to the trend of Pu’er tea in the market, the vast area of wild Dali tea in Yunnan was cut down, picked all leaves or dug away for cultivation, which almost caused devastating damage to the natural resources of this tea species.

In 1985, in order to restore the famous historical tea, Xiaguan tea factory specially organized technical personnel to investigate and analyze the history and current situation of Gantong tea in Dali. After repeated trial production, Gantong tea was successfully made with spring tender buds and leaves as raw materials, referring to the processing technology recorded in history and combining with modern new technology. The recent popularity of decaffeinated tea has contributed to the popularity of this kind of tea. Today, Gantong tea has been widely planted at the foot of Malong peak in Cangshan Mountain. Gantong temple covers an area of nearly 10 square kilometers. Buddha tea, once rare and hard to find, has entered the homes of ordinary people. Gantong tea belongs to the so-called “ancient arbor tea”. It is made from one bud and one leaf or one bud and two leaves as raw materials, and is processed by green killing, rolling, first drying, re kneading, shaping, fire, full fire and other processes.

 

Dianmian teaCamellia irrawadiensis, is a plant of Theaceae Camellia. Dianmian Tea plants are distributed in Yunnan, China and Myanmar, mainly distributed in Southwest Yunnan and the upper reaches of Irrawaddy River in Myanmar. The buds and leaves can be made into tea for drinking.

Laohei teaCamellia atrothea Chang et Tang, is a plant of Theaceae Camellia. Laohei Tea plants are distributed in Yunnan, Chinese mainland. It is a native plant of China, not introduced from abroad.

KuchaCamellia assamica var. Kucha is a variety of Pu’er tea. The distribution of Kucha is very narrow, the lowest growth line is 1320 m, the highest growth line is 1390 m, and the concentrated distribution zone is 1360- 1380m. The traditional distribution pattern of tea purine alkaloids is that the content of caffeine is dominant, theobromine and theophylline exist as associated alkaloids. The purine alkaloids in Kucha are mainly the Kucha alkaloids, with the content of 1.3- 3.4%, followed by caffeine and theobromine. Kucha alkaloids belongs to purine alkaloids, mainly exists in tender leaves. In recent years, studies have found that Kucha alkaloids has antidepressant, sedative hypnotic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic pharmacological effects, which is one of the research hotspots of purine alkaloids.

 


 

Aging Raw Pu’er

Pu’er tea can be purchased as either raw/green 生 [shēng] or ripe/cooked 熟 [shú] , depending on processing method or aging. Raw pu’er can be roughly classified on the tea oxidation scale as a green tea, and ripe or aged-green variants as post-fermented tea. Unlike other teas that should ideally be consumed shortly after production, pu’er can be drunk immediately or aged for many years; pu’er teas are often now classified by year and region of production much like wine vintages.

 


 

Ripe Pu’er

Ripe/cooked Shu Pu’er 熟普 artificial processing techniques were developed successfully by Kunming tea factory in 1975, the artificial pile-fermentation step simulates the natural fermentation and shortens the long natually aging time (more than 10 years). Spraying water on tealeaves and increasing temperature in fermentation rooms/ chambers promote the microorganism reproduction significantly, firstly, microorganisms directly effect on tea leaves to form fragrances and colors, secondly, extracellular enzymes produced by microorganisms develop tastes.

The smell of aged pu‘er may vary, with an “aged” but not “stuffy” odour. The taste of aged raw pu’er or ripe pu’er which is artificially fermented, should be smooth, with slight hints of bitterness, and lack a biting astringency or any off-sour tastes. The element of taste is an important indicator of aged pu’er quality, the texture should be rich and thick and should have very distinct gān (甘) and húigān (回甘) on the tongue and cheeks, which together induces salivation and leaves a “feeling” in the back of the throat.

 


 

Pu’er Cake Tea, Bowl Tea, Ball Tea, Bamboo Tube Tea and Brick Tea

Pu’er cake tea is well known for the fact that it is a compressed tea and also that it typically ages well to produce a pleasant drink. Through storage, Pu’er typically takes on a darker colour and mellower flavour characteristics. Often Pu’er leaves are compressed into tea cakes, bowls, mushrooms or bricks, and wrapped in various materials, stored away from excessive moisture, heat, and sunlight, which help to mature the tea.

Pressing of pu’er into cakes and aging tea cakes from the natural aging process happened in the store rooms of tea drinkers and merchants, as well as on horseback caravans on the Ancient tea route 茶馬古道 [chámǎ gǔdaò] that was used in ancient Yunnan province to trade tea to Tibet and more northern parts of China. Compression of pu’er into dense bulky objects likely eased horseback transport and reduced damages.

 

Yunnan Tuocha is one of the most famous teas in China. It is rooted in China and originated in Xiaguan, Yunnan and has been more than 90 years since it came out. Yunnan Tuocha was created in Xiaguan of Dali, so it is also called Xiaguan Tuocha. Tuo tea production has a long history, it is derived from Tuan Cha tea ball. It is said that it got its name because it was sold in Tuojiang area of Sichuan Province in the past. The modern shape of Yunnan Tuocha was created in the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty. It evolved from the so-called “girl tea” (also known as private tea) in Jinggu County of Simao Area into the shape of modern Tuocha.

In the late Qing Dynasty, the tea distribution market in Yunnan gradually shifted to Xiaguan with convenient transportation and developed industry and commerce. As early as 1902, Fuchunhe and other tea makers in Xiaguan began to develop Tuocha on the basis of a kind of tea called “Tuancha ball tea”. It was successfully shaped in 1917, and its shape was unique, like a bowl and mortar. Xiaguan tea merchants changed tea ball into bowl shaped Tuo tea, which was transported to Chongqing, Chengdu and other places in Sichuan Province for sale through Kunming. Now, the production quantity and quality of Yunnan Tuocha have been developed and improved, and sold well all over China. Because the Yunnan people used to call massive objects “Tuo 坨”, it was initially named “Tuocha 坨茶”. This kind of Tuo tea produced by Xiaguan tea factory in those years was sold to Xufu (now Yibin area) in Sichuan Province. It was brewed with local Tuojiang water and had a good taste. Tuojiang River water and Xiaguan tea, the perfect combination of famous tea and water, make the reputation of “Tuocha” double, over time, “Tuocha 坨茶” will gradually evolve into “Tuocha 沱茶”.

Tuo tea can be divided into green tea and dark tea according to different raw materials. Green tea Tuo tea is made from tender sun dried green tea by steaming, dark tea Tuo tea is made from Pu’er tea by steaming. Yunnan Tuo tea is made from sun dried green tea, Yunnan Pu’er Tuo tea is made by pressing Pu’er loose tea. Yunnan Tuocha, mainly produced in Xiaguan tea farm, is made from high-grade big leaf green tea. The best quality “super Tuo tea”, which is 8 cm in diameter and 4.5 cm in height, is steamed and pressed into a bowl shape by several processes. It has a tight shape, a dark color, white hair on the outside, a fragrant aroma, a mellow taste, and a bright orange soup. After a long period of careful storage, it naturally aged. Its soup color is red and brown, bright, mellow, sweet and smooth, and its fragrance is simple and deep. Yunnan Tuocha is mild and suitable for all ages.

 

Manglu tea is produced in manglu mountain in Bangdong village, Bangdong township. It is a mountain range of Lincang snow mountain extending eastward close to Lancang River. At the foot of the mountain is Xigui Ferry (formerly Gali ferry). There is Xigui Neolithic site nearby. It is the place where people lived and lived before, During the “village gathering” movement around 1970, the villagers of Lushan gradually moved to the former centralized residence.

Nearly half of the area of the mountain is tea garden, and the other half is subtropical season rain forest. The unique natural environment of the mountain makes the sunshine time short, and it is mostly diffuse light. In addition, the rainfall is abundant, the humidity is high, the soil is rich in humus, the soil is loose, and contains the organic matter and trace elements required for the growth of tea. Under this ecological condition, tea plant is robust and the base leaves are thick and fat, which lays a material foundation for the formation of the fine quality of tea. Tea garden is mainly distributed in the half mountain area of the forest. The base girth of larger tea plants is about 80-90 cm. Tea garden is a traditional natural growth of picking, after hundreds of years of artificial and unintentional creation, the shape of the tea plant is rugged and strange, like sleeping dragon and flying bird wings. It is easy to climb and pick, and it is ornamental. If people can experience it in person, it is a kind of enjoyment. The production of Xigui tea ball is divided into two steps: first, the production of sun dried tea ball, and then refined into group tea. On a sunny day, the tea leaves of the ancient trees on Xigui Manglu mountain were picked as raw materials, and then dried by hand. The second step is to weigh the sun dried green tea, steam it soft, wrap it with cotton cloth, knead it into a ball, and dry it in a cool and ventilated place.

 

Bamboo tube tea is a kind of cylindrical raw Pu’er tea. Produced in Hunan and Yunnan, it has a history of more than 200 years. Bamboo tube tea has both strong tea aroma and bamboo aroma. The Dai people in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan like to drink this kind of tea. The production method is as follows: first, the fresh leaves are killed green, the tea juice is kneaded, and put into the tender fragrant bamboo tube which has just been cut back and has a growth period of about one year, and the holes are drilled on the bamboo tube to facilitate the evaporation of water. The bamboo tube containing tea is put on the tripod of the fire pond and slowly roasted on the charcoal fire at about 40 ℃. After about 6-7 minutes, the tea in the bamboo tube will soften. At this time, use the stick to press the tea in the bamboo tube, and then fill it with tea and bake it. In this way, the bamboo tube is filled, roasted and pressed until the tea in the bamboo tube is filled and pressed. Turn it at any time until it is dry enough, and plug it after it is full.
Yao people living in central Hunan, Dai, Hani and Jingpo people living in southern Yunnan, use bamboo tube tea as food. Boil or steam the fresh leaves in a pot, when the leaves are soft, put them on the bamboo curtain and roll them. Then put them into the bamboo tube and seal them with a stick. Let them ferment slowly, after two or three months, the tea leaves in the bamboo tube turn yellow, split the bamboo tube, take out the tightly pressed tea leaves to dry, put them into the potter jar, marinate them with fragrant oil, and then they can be taken out for vegetables at any time.

 

 

 


 

Selecting Pu’er Tea as a Collector’s Item

Some suggestions for Pu’er lovers to select high-quality Pu’er as a collector’s item: Frist, choose Pu’er of quality raw material, which is the precondition for quality Pu’er. Second, special Pu’er are telatively small in quantity, from special areas and processed with special technology or of rare raw materials. For example wild ancinet arbor tea, raw tea make of old sun-baked green crude tea leaves or tender shoots or Crab Pincers, etc.. Third, choose Pu’er with special memorial significance, for example made for a special occasion.

 


 

Old Tea Lump

Old tea lump 老茶头 [lǎo chá tóu] refers to the Pu’er tea chunk which is hard to lossen because of the temperature, humidity and stirring during a pile fermentation. An outer lump layer has been completely fermented, while its core is not. It gives a unique taste, a mellow fragrance of fermented tea and a freshness of raw tea. In subsequent brews, a fresh and sweet taste of raw tea shows more, which is far better than that of assorted raw and processed Pu’er teas or a flavored liquid of both. Old tea lump is endurable, and its tea soup is dark red like wine, smooth, fragrant and sweet. Brewed leaves are reddish-brown, some with a dark green center due to an incomplete fermentation within a lump.

 


 

Processed Pu’er Tea – Mandarin Peel, Flowers, Glutinous Rice

Mandarin Peel Pu’er 柑普 [gān pǔ] Tea is made of mandarin peels from Xinhui of Guangdong Province and ripe Pu’er tea from Yunnan Province, through special producing processes. On its soup surface is usually covered by oil droplets, its fruity and aging aroma is rich, and its flavor is smooth and mellow with a sweet aftertaste. Raw Pu’er tea could be processed as a good-quality herbal tea material, it is blended with flowers from Chrysanthemum, Jasmin, Lily, Peony, Rose, Sea Lavendar and etc..

 

Glutinous rice fragrance – Nuomixiang (Semnostachya menglaensis H. P. Tsui) is distributed in Yunnan Province, China, growing in sheltered woodland grassland. It is named because of its strong aroma of glutinous rice. Blending glutinous rice scented leaves into Yunnan Pu’er tea, it is pressed into Pu’er raw tea and cooked Shu tea with glutinous rice aroma. It is one of the most favorite traditional drinks of Dai people. It contains many kinds of aromatic components such as vanillin alcohol and amino acids beneficial to human body. It can be used for flavoring, and can also be used as a tea ingredient. It has the functions of clearing away heat, detoxicating, nourishing the face, resisting the decay, and invigorating the kidney and strengthening the stomach.

The most commonly used and traditional method is to mix the dried glutinous rice leaves and Pu’er tea according to a certain proportion and then press them into shape. The glutinous rice fragrance produced by this method is directly obtained by brewing glutinous rice leaves, which is similar to the common tangerine peel Pu’er tea in the market. The dry pieces of glutinous rice leaves can be clearly seen in the pressed tea, most of which are bowl shape tea. This method is also more expensive. Another way is to make use of the absorption of tea, through smoking glutinous rice leaves to absorb the aroma of glutinous rice in the tea, so people can’t see the leaves of glutinous rice leaves in the tea, but there is a delicate smell of glutinous rice note, which can not only maintain the appearance of the tea, but also retain the characteristics of the more fragrant the tea is!

 


 

Gongting Pu’er Tea

Gongting (imperial) Pu’er 宫廷普洱, which originally referred as the tribute Pu’er tea to the imperial court, is the best quality of Pu’er tea today. Pu’er tea was listed as tribute tea by the imperial court during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty. Tender shoots were harvested only in February, produced under the supervision of Pu’er local government and transported to the capital by caravans. Nowdays, the good quality of Gongting Pu’er tea follows a strict standard – 500g tea shoots is selected from every 50kg sun-baked green crude tea through manual selection and sifting.

 


 

Camphorwood Flavor Pu’er Tea

According to experts, the camphorwood flavor 樟香 [zhāng xiāng] can be added during producing processes, in which rubbed and twisted raw tea is dried by burning camphorwood. However, artificial fragrances fade soon, how to get Pu’er tea with long-lasting camphorwood fragrances?

The answer is planting camphor trees together with Pu’er tea trees. Tea leaves gradually imbibe camphorwood fragrances by sharing a same soil and root system, so these fragrances remain even after a pile fermentation process. This method was initiated by Zeng Yunrong. Moreover, camphor fragrances can drive away harmful insects, therefore, it makes Pu’er tea more ecologically friendly and safer. Since this type of Pu’er tea are mostly produced in the requirements of some domestic tea traders, it is rarely seen in the market and mostly exported to southeastern Asian countries.

 


 

Pu’er 老班章 [lǎo bān zhāng] tea

Began in 1476, Lao Ban Zhang village is the world king tea villiage, located in Menghai County, Bulang Shan 布朗山 country, Yunnan Province Xishuangbanna Zhou, an altitude of 1700 to 1900 meters, annual average temperature of 18.7, with an average annual sunshine 2088 hours, with an average annual rainfall of 1341 to 1540 mm. 4700 acres of tea tree could produce only 50 tons annual, since ancient times, villagers use traditional methods to maintenance ancient tea trees, follow the manual customs to pick fresh leaves up and sun dry.

Laobanzhang Pu’er tea is a standard of large tea leaf, a strong and long-lasting unique fragrance of orchid and nectar. In a first 3 years’ preservation, a tea liquid color is bright yellow, after 3 years turns to yellow-red. Its bitterness degrades quickly, sweetness turns back after 1 minute and lasts for several hours. It could brew 10 times, tea residue is yellow-green in first 3-5 years.

 


 

Zi Juan Pu’er

Zi Juan tea 紫鹃茶 [zǐ juān] is a variant of Pu’er tea varieties, buds, leaves and stems are purple – Zi, dry tea and tea soup are also purple. Leaves could be produced raw Pu’er or black tea, Zi Juan Pu’er has its special fragrance, because of a high anthocyanin content,   tea soup of raw Zi Juan Pu’er is normally light  purple.

 


 

  Pu’er Dan Zhu

Pu’er Dan Zhu 单株 – Single Plant, it has been  known only using tea leaves from one single tea tree to make Pu’er cakes.   Not every single  pu’er tea tree could be used to make Dan Zhu, tea trees  need to be old and big enough to produce tasty  and qualified  Pu’er cakes,     tree-age  is optimum above 500 year old,  large root system  helps  to  absorb more  nutrition, therefore, fragrances and flavours are better than  tea from young trees.   Moreover, each single tree has its own  unique growing environment, it makes each Dan zhu   cake  special and  unique.  Good Dan Zhu  cakes are rare  and  valuable,  because  single tree could be only produced 0.5- 3 kg dry tea.

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