the appetizer:

The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to Enjoying the World's Best Teas by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss, includes excerpts like Pu-erh Tea; Gallery of Pu-erh Teas; and The Perfect Cup: Specifics for Steeping Pu-erh Tea.

Cookbook Profile

Gallery of Pu-erh Teas

by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss

Pu-erh Tea


Sheng Pu-erh
(raw, uncooked, or green Pu-erh)

Sheng Pu-erh has incredible depth of character, with a flavor that has been likened to the essence of the forest floor. It is said that Pu-erh broth (the term Pu-erh connoisseurs use for the tea liquor) tastes deliciously "of the good, clean earth." Developed from years of experimentation going back to the days of the Tea Horse Road, Pu-erh is one of the unique examples of terroir that exist to help us celebrate centuries-old tradition. Sheng Pu-erh is rarely sold as loose-leaf tea, and the cakes are wrapped individually and marked with information detailing the village or tea factory that manufactured it.


Shou Pu-Erh
(ripe, cooked, or black Pu-erh)

Shou Pu-erh is virtually ready to drink as soon as it is purchased and does not offer the challenges of aging that sheng Pu-erh does. It is less of an acquired taste and more of an everyman's Pu-erh in China. Shou Pu-erh has a lingering, funky, dank flavor and aroma reminiscent of tree bark and rich, moist soil. Shou Pu-erh is more accommodating in taste than its sheng counterpart when both are drunk young.

Shou Pu-erh is a modern variation of traditional sheng Pu-erh; the base leaf in cooked Pu-erh is oxidized and undergoes artificial, accelerated fermentation before being compressed. Shou Pu-erh is made into tea cakes and is also commonly found in loose-leaf form. It is more reasonably priced than sheng Pu-erh.


Buy The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook


The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook


This page created September 2010