Compressed Pu-erh Brewing Instructions

Author: Denise   Date Posted:23 September 2016 

Simple brewing instructions to get the most out of your compressed Pu-erh tea leaves.

Compressed Pu-erh Brewing Instructions main image Compressed Pu-erh Brewing Instructions image

The following instructions apply to the larger compressed Pu-erh teas including our bingcha and tuocha

We recommend using a 1-2 cup teapot for many short infusions.

  • Pre-warm the teapot by swirling some boiled water in it and then dispose of the water.
  • Break off 3-6 grams of leaves (3g for one cup, 6g for 2 cups), taking care to try and keep most of the leaves intact as broken leaves may create a slightly more bitter taste.
  • “Awaken the tea” — pour boiled water over the leaves, just enough to cover them, for 2-3 seconds and discard this water.
  • Ripe Pu-erh teas will require a second rinse to get rid of any impurities from the wet piling process that it undergoes. Rinsing the tea allows the leaves to soften ready to release their true flavour when properly steeped.

Now there is a ‘Chinese method’ and a ‘Western method’ for brewing Pu-erh, which seems to be entirely based on the size of the vessel used. The Chinese method is based around small teapots like Yixing clay pots or gaiwan cups (lidded tea bowls) and requires brewing that only takes a matter of seconds, which can produce more than ten infusions. The Western method is based around larger teapots that are around a 4 cup size and brewing lasts at least 2 minutes, producing about 3-4 infusions.

Chinese Method:

  • Using boiled fresh spring water or purified water, fill your teapot and allow this first infusion to sit for 15-20 seconds. Pour and enjoy.
  • Increase steeping time by 5-10 seconds for each subsequent infusion.

Western Method:

  • Using boiled fresh spring water or purified water, fill your teapot and allow this first infusion to sit for about 2 minutes. Pour and enjoy.
  • Increase steeping time by 1 minute for each subsequent infusion.

For mini tuocha, simply place a whole one in at least a 2-cup sized teapot and follow the steps as instructed above, applying either the Chinese or Western method. Alternatively a mini tuocha can be broken in half  if you do not want to use as much tea in one go.


Serving suggestions

Pu-erh can actually be enjoyed in a myriad of ways with some even enjoying it with the addition of milk and honey.

Alternatively, osmanthus flowers, pomelo rinds, or chrysanthemum flowers can be added to the teapot to brew along with the Pu-erh leaves to give the tea an added fragrance.