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The ripe pu-erh tea made of Myanmar tea

[2017.04.23] Posted By

In this year, one of the objectives of my Yunnan trip was to look for the quality ripe pu-erh tea. Since the tea season was late, I have more time to look for the manufacturer of ripe pu-erh tea this time. So far we have succeeded to find two types of good ripe pu-erh tea.

The ripe pu-erh tea is made from the raw pu-erh tea

The ripe pu-erh tea is made of the fermentation by microorganism and raw pu-erh tea is used as the raw material. The raw pu-er tea will be piled on the floor and added with some water, mixed well, and then the microorganism fermentation will take place. There are different types of microorganism involve in the fermentation process, e.g., anaerobic bacteria, aerobic bacteria, yeast and mold. They take turn to grow and conduct fermentation. One pile normally consists of several tones of dry tea leaf, and the duration of the whole fermentation process is about one and a half to two months.
Normally during spring time, the manufacturer of ripe pu-erh tea is not conducting the fermentation. They are very busy collecting the raw pu-erh tea. We look for the tea fermented in previous year. As such, we bought 2016 tea.

Myanmar ripe pu-erh tea

One of the teas we bought is the Myanmar Ripe Pu-erh Tea. The raw pu-erh tea was made in the border town of Myanmar called Guo Gan (果敢) and it was brought to Yunnan to conduct fermentation. Right now Guo Gan is suffering the civil war. Due to extremely dangerous situation, the traffic between the borders is strictly controlled. The traffic is only resumed for a short period when fighting ceased. Due to the critical situation in Myanmar, it is getting harder to obtain the material nowadays.

We have visited the village in Guo Gan back in 2013. We drove for nearly three hours from the border of Yunnan to reach the village.

Naturally-farmed tea was used

Generally, the Guo Gan tea gives very bold body, long-lasting aftertaste with thick mouth feel. It is due to the growing condition of tea and the quality of the soil. In Guo Gan, the soil is yellowish and sticky. The soil is extremely rich in iron content.
If we make teapot using their soil, it would produce the great quality clay ware.

In addition, teas in Guo Gan are mostly naturally-farmed. They use no fertilizer and not to mention pesticide. Nevertheless, some teas along the road or passage may be unintentionally fertilized by cattle that are freely running around the village. My ripe pu-erh manufacturer is very particular about the tea growing under the natural environment. They are buying tea from the remote area where tea is free from fertilizer.

Very limited availability of spring tea

The ripe pu-erh tea produced from the first-plucked spring tea is scarcely available in tea market. Once we understand the practice of ripe pu-erh tea manufacturing, we can understand the reason why the spring tea is so limited.
Usually, the ripe pu-erh tea manufacturer conducts the fermentation of ripe pu-erh tea three times in a year: in spring, summer and autumn. In summer, due to the warm weather and raining season, tea grows fastest and thus the quantity of the summer tea is the largest and lowest in cost, and then followed by the autumn tea. On the contrary, the quantity of spring tea is usually very small but outstandingly good quality. Due to the material is very limited, the price of spring tea is high. For example, one of my ripe pu-erh tea manufacturer produces about 200-300 tones of ripe pu-erh tea a year. However, they only have a few tons of spring tea. As the standard practice of the ripe pu-erh tea manufacturer, they blend spring, summer and autumn crop in order to even out the price and quality. This is a very common practice of the ripe pu-erh tea manufacturing. Usually the lesser portion of the ripe pu-erh tea available in the market is made of the three-season blend, while most of the ripe pu-erh tea is made of summer-autumn blend.
However, if you have ever tried the ripe pu-erh tea that is made of the spring crop, you may not be able to come back to the three- or two-season blends. The spring ripe pu-erh tea gives soft mouth feel, strong aftertaste and the sweetness lingers down the throat for a long time. Because of the outstanding quality and cup characteristic, we cannot move away from the spring crop. The latest two types of ripe pu-erh teas are also made of spring tea harvested at the end of March to April.

We completed the compression in cake

We have already compressed the ripe pu-erh tea into 357g and reconfirm the quality. Now we are drying the cakes and it may takes about two weeks time for drying.

These teas are arriving at our shop in about one to two months time. I am very excited to introduce these teas.

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