Black Pu-erh Bing Cha
This is a large, circular pressed disc of tea, or bing cha.
The original Bing Chas were made in 1735 A.D. and sold largely to
Tibet. The discs of tea are packed in bamboo wrapped stacks of seven
cakes as seven is a number honored as an important measurement in the
Taoist tradition. This pu-erh has undergone several weeks of pile
fermentation before being compressed into bing chas. Then they were
stored in a dry aging facility for four months, and transferred to a
private collection dry aging facility. This pu-erh has a smooth, earthy
taste that will improve with age. Just break off a small section of tea
from the disc and brew. A wonderful digestive tea after a large meal.
Each bing cha weighs 0.8 of a pound (12.8 ounces).
Pu-erhs difference in flavor comes from an additional step in processing. After picking the leaves, the tea maker creates a maocha, or sundried base tea. Once that's done, the tea undergoes a micro-fermentation process. Once this fermentation has been accomplished the leaves are aged, then packed or steamed and pressed into bricks or cakes. These teas also improve with age some prized pu-erh teas can be over 50 years old. There are stores throughout Asia, that specialize in selling only pu-erh teas and the range -- in style, quality, and price -- is astounding. People will pay thousands of dollars for rare pu-erh teas that are 30 years old and up.
How to brew pu-erh tea:
When the bricks are extremely tightly pressed it is best to use a strong knife to carefully pry out some leaves. The technique that works best is to insert the knife into the edge of the brick and then gently twist it up and down until the leaves loosen and flake off.Add about 3-4 grams per serving of tea (the amount depends upon type of pu-erh) to your teapot or gaiwan.Add hot boiling water at a full rolling boil -- it's the only tea that should be made with boiling water.Always pre-wash the leaves with a brief 5-10 second infusion to awaken the leaves. Then pour off the liquid.Steep
for 2-3 minutes. Once the tea seems ready. pour and taste it. If
necessary, adjust the steeping time for a stronger taste. The Tibetans
are famous for brewing their pu-erh teas overnight to make their famous
Soo Jah (Yak Butter and Salt Tea).
teas also have a lot of medical lore surrounding them. In China they
are considered beneficial for lowering cholesterol, fighting hangovers,
and aiding digestion.
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