Puer Cakes

Puer teas are elemental and mysteriously dark, fermented teas which are robust, earthy, rich and grounding. Puer is often a favorite tea of the truly dedicated tea drinker. This aged tea usually begins with a variety of leaf from exceptionally broad-leaved tea trees.  This tea either left loose or compressed into cakes is then permitted to retain barely enough moisture content that the tea continues to ferment slowly over time. For this reason, puer is best stored open so that oxygen can continue to refine the tea.

There are two general types of puer: Shu (black, or cooked) and Sheng (green, or raw). The raw or Sheng (green) puer is made from mao cha this is lightly steamed and pressed into cakes. It is the sheng puer that demonstrates the miracle of puer. The microbes present in the mao cha that are not destroyed during sun drying work their magic and over 8 to 10 years until raw puer tea is transformed to cooked, green to black. It is the sheng that is most valuable over time and starts to reach is full maturity after around thirty years. 

Shu, or cooked/black puer is more complicated. In 1973, because of a shortage of old cakes caused by the destruction of all things old during the Cultural Revolution, a process was developed for uniformly speeding up the aging process. This process has been well guarded in the past but is relatively simple, but not without skill. Large piles of maocha are wetted and then covered with a large canvas cloth, creating a kind of composting effect. The water drains off as does some of the natural moisture through the weight of the pile. Inside of the pile heat is produced. The pile becomes a rich environment for microbes that thrive in the tea leaves of the Yunnan rain forest.

The tea master’s skill comes into play when the pile needs to be turned. The turning needs to come at the right time, and there are clumps of growth that occur at the bottom of the heap and must be broken up and evenly distributed throughout the pile. When to turn and the attention paid to the details of turning are critical, so that the pile adds a pleasant fragrance to the tea. A poor level of skill turns the heap into an unkempt barnyard smell, flatteringly called ‘earthy’ in the West, and ‘old house smell’ in China.  After the the tea is cooked it is sorted for grade, and then lightly steeped and pressed into cakes, bricks, etc.  Read more...


Green Puer
15 products

Black Puer
8 products

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Zao Xiang Xiao Shu Tuo (Date Fragrance Mini Black Tuo Cha) 2007

Zao Xiang Xiao Shu Tuo (Date Fragrance Mini Black Tuo Cha) was created especially for new puer tea drinkers. Each piece weighs 3 grams, yielding a mild cup that is more approachable for new puer drinkers. The producers used 5th grade maocha, carefully fermenting it to give a lightly-cooked Chinese Date fragrance. The flavor is more fruity and less earthy than other puers with a smooth, sweet character.

Our price: $7.90

Zi Juan Purple Tea Leaf (Green Puer Cake) 2006 357g

Purple leaf puer teas are produced from the leaves of a very unique tea bush cultivar in southwest Yunnan. Their purple color is indicative of an unusual richness in zinc and amino acids.


Our price: $79.90
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