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ripe pu-erh process
 
One of the important objectives in this Yunnan trip is to look for the good ripe pu-erh tea. I have visited more than five manufacturers in the past one week. I would like to share some photos and knowledge in making ripe pu-erh tea.

 

Material used for ripe pu-erh

Generally, majority of ripe pu-erh tea is made of the garden tea. Moreover, it is a very common practice to blend spring, summer and autumn tea in order to reduce the cost. Garden tea is produced with plenty of fertilizers and it is very unlikely that it gives strong after taste. As for tea leaf plucked in summer and autumn, it gives very less body. As a result, tea has less body and less after taste. The raw pu-erh tea made of pure spring tea is very rare and limited in the market. The price is higher, yet it is sold very fast.

 

First fermentation

At first, tea is piled and then sprayed with water. After that, tea leaves are covered with the sheet made from the bark of palm tree. At this stage, the bacterial fermentation is taken place. The temperature of tea increases up to 60-70 degree C. Tea is kept for about 45 to 50 days. In every five to seven days, the tea leaves are mixed to redistribute the moisture.

ripe pu-erh process

The 1st fermentation

fermentation of ripe pu-erh tea

first fermentation of ripe pu-erh tea

 

Secondary fermentation

After the first fermentation is completed, tea leaves are then spread over the fermentation room for natural drying process. In every five to seven days, the tea leaves are mixed. The natural drying process takes about two to four weeks, depending on the weather. During natural drying process, the yeast and mold grow naturally and contribute in the taste and the flavour. However, sometimes the space of fermentation room is limited, and if tea is piled until too high, the moisture is trapped inside the tea leaves and it will develop very unpleasant flavor. The ripe pu-erh tea often gives earthy flavour. It usually formed during this stage when tea is not handled properly.

secondly fermentation of ripe pu-erh

fermentation of ripe pu-erh tea

 

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