After spending an inordinate amount of time on Hou De Fine Asian Art website, I finally decided upon the following three tea samplers. Each come in a 1 oz sample – I cannot wait to brew and taste.
Take a look at my choices below and tell me what you think:
2007 “5th Intern’l Aged Puerh Appreciation” Memorial cake
2005 MengHai “Meng Song Gu Cha Shan Peacock”
2003 Yi-Chan-Hao Yi-Ban Wild Arbor Cake, Uncooked
The one thing I struggled with when ordering my tea was the cooked vs. uncooked designation. Yes, I know this lack of tea lingo knowledge screams novice. What can I say, over the years I enjoyed drinking tea, but that was about it. Okay, back to my delimma – cooked vs. uncooked…
The Hou De Fine Asian Art site does a great job of explaining the difference between the two in “laymans” terms. Here is an excerpt from the website:
Uncooked pu-erh is the original form of pu-erh teas. Following traditional method, new uncooked pu-erh teas are little or no fermented. The taste of those new teas, especially those made of wild arbor-type tea trees, has a strong astringency. People gradually found that by storing them in a dry condition for several more years, the teas become more mellow and lingering in the taste. In fact, the longer you store those uncooked pu-erhs, the better and more mellow the taste. Again, this especially applies to those made of wild arbor-type tea trees.
It is commonly accepted that the “cooke” method was invented in Kumming Tea Factory around 1972. However, a recent report identified that the cooked method was already started in Jin-Gu Tea Factory as early as 1950.
Cooked pu-erhs are made of the same raw tea leaves as uncooked ones. However, to speed up the fermentation process and improve the mellowness in taste, the tea factory added a Wuo Duei step – Wuo means “wetted by spreading water”, and Duei means “stored as many layers”. Basically, it is an auto-thermal and enhanced oxidation process that quickly increases the fermentation degree of pu-erh teas. Because of the auto-thermal nature and the heat generated during the step, people call this kind of pu-erh “cooked”.
It is simply amazing the things I have learned about tea! My fascination increases as I continue my tea research.
Happy Tea Drinking!