Brewing Pu-Erh cakes and other compressed Pu-Erh teas in a small Chinese teapot is a delightful ritual that allows you to unlock the rich flavors and aromas these teas have to offer.
Here’s a general brewing guide to help you make the most of your Pu-Erh tea experience:
1. Preheat the Teapot:
Pour hot water into the teapot to warm it up. Swirl the water around and then discard it. This helps maintain a consistent brewing temperature.
2. Prepare the Tea:
Break off the desired amount of Pu-Erh tea from the cake. For a small teapot, a piece around 5-7 grams is usually sufficient. The amount can be adjusted based on personal preference and the size of your teapot.
3. Rinse the Tea:
Pour hot water over the tea leaves to rinse them. Let it sit for a few seconds, then discard the water. This step helps awaken the leaves and remove any impurities.
4. First Infusion:
Pour hot water (ideally just below boiling) over the tea leaves. The first infusion is quick, usually around 10-20 seconds. Pour the tea into the teacups.
5. Subsequent Infusions:
Pu-Erh teas are known for multiple infusions. Gradually increase the steeping time with each infusion, starting from 20-30 seconds for the second infusion. Aim for at least 3-5 infusions, or until the flavor begins to fade.
6. Enjoy the Tea:
Take a moment to appreciate the rich, earthy aroma and nuanced flavors of the Pu-Erh tea. Note how the taste profile evolves with each infusion.
7. Storage of Compressed Tea:
If you’re not finishing the entire cake in one sitting, ensure the remaining tea is stored in a cool, dry place away from odors. It’s common for compressed Pu-Erh teas to be aged, so they may develop more complex flavors over time.
Experiment with water temperature, starting just below boiling, and adjust based on your preferences.
Embrace the ceremonial aspect of the tea preparation, taking the time to appreciate each infusion.
Use a tea strainer when pouring into teacups if you find there are small tea particles in the liquid.
This method allows you to unlock the full potential of compressed Pu-Erh tea, providing a series of infusions that showcase the tea’s complexity and depth.