Steeping Pu-erh & Other Hei Cha

tea-puerh tea-puerh3

Pu-erh & Hei Cha are usually purchased as a compressed unit of tea ( a round disc, rectangle, square, or bird’s nest tuo-cha, etc. ) or as loose-leaf tea. Compressed tea needs to be broken into small pieces and an appropriate amount of these pieces is then steeped in a Chinese gaiwan or an un-glazed clay Yixing teapot, or other type of small teapot. The idea is to use a small vessel and steep small quantities of leaf over the course of several infusions.

Steeping Pu-erh & Hei Cha

Pu-erh & Hei Cha can be steeped either Western-style in a large teapot, or Asian-style in a small teapot or gaiwan of 10 ounces or less. The results will be quite different because these two steeping methodologies utilize different ratios of leaf to water. In essence, Asian-style steeping in a small vessel yields tea that is fuller in flavor and deeper in dimension.

Western-style steeping in a medium to large sized teapot (24 – 32 ounces):

  • First measure the capacity of your teapot.
    Fill your teapot to capacity with water and then measure this volume of water in ounces. Divide this number by 6. Most recommendations for amount of tea to use are based on 6 ounces of water. For example, a 24-ounce teapot would require 4 measures of tea to make a full-strength pot of tea.
  • Measure of tea:  from loose-leaf or chunks from beeng cha, tuo cha or other compressed Pu-erh
    Shou Pu-erh: 3 to 4 grams or 2 teaspoons to 1.5 tablespoons of leaf per 6 oz of water.
             Sheng Pu-erh: not recommended for steeping in this manner                                                                                                                                                   When using compressed cakes: the denser the compresson of the leaf, the less leaf you will need to use;
    with light compression more leaf is required.
  • Water Temperature:
    use water that is 200°F – 210°F
    Asian description: ‘turbulent waters’ – that’s just at the boil. Hei Cha is the only tea that likes to be steeped in water that is this hot.
  • Rinse the tea:
    Place the tea in your teapot or tea vessel and begin by rinsing it with a quick application of hot water. To do this, add just enough water to cover the tea lea Immediately discard this liquid. Add additional hot water for the 1st steeping.
  • Steeping time: keep the leaf in the water for the appropriate amount of timePu-erh and other  Hei Cha can steep for 3 to 4 minutes. Steeped this way, these teas can be re-stepped, but they may only yield a second and sometimes third infusion, not the 6 to 8 + multiple infusions obtained when steeping these teas Asian-style.

Asian-style steeping in a small teapot (under 10oz) or in a gaiwan:

Pu-erh & Hei Cha, but Pu-erh in particular, prepared Asian-style, will be steeped briefly, and many successive times, in tea gatherings
lasting an hour or two.  The tea will be served in small cups, and the leaf will be re-steeped until the flavor diminishes. Accordingly,
the number of successive infusions depends on:

  • the type of Pu-erh or Hei Cha being used
  • the age of the tea
  • how much water is being used
  • how long the tea is steeped
  • Measure of tea: from loose-leaf or chunks from beeng cha, tuo cha or other compressed Pu-erh
    Shou Pu-erh: 6 grams or 4 teaspoons of leaf per 6 oz of water.
    Sheng Pu-erh: 3 grams or 1 Tablespoon to 1.5 Tablespoons of leaf per 6 oz of water.Increase the quantity of leaf to suit the capacity of the tea steeping vessel that you are using. It is important to use enough leaf to fully flavor all the infusions. Understanding this measure and changing it in proportion with the water requires a bit of experimentation with each new Pu-erh & Hei Cha you encounter.When using compressed cakes: the denser the compresson of the leaf, the less leaf you will need to use.
    With light compression cakes more leaf is required. 
  • Water temperature:
    Use water that is 200°F – 210°FAsian description: ‘turbulent waters’ – that’s just at the boil. Pu-erh is really the only tea that likes to be steeped in water that is this hot.
  • Rinse the tea:
    place the tea in your teapot or tea vessel and begin by rinsing it with a quick application of hot water. To do this, add just enough water to cover the tea lea Immediately discard this liquid. Add additional hot water for the 1st steeping.
  • Re-steeping:
    add slightly hotter water to the teapot or tea vessel and re-steep the leaf, adding an additional 5 to10 seconds steeping time with each re-steep

NOTE:
Pu-erh and Hei Cha  are traditionally ‘rinsed’ before being steeped. This is done with a quick application of hot water that is poured over the tea in the gaiwan or teapot and then immediately poured off. Most Pu-erh enthusiasts do not drink this 1st steeping, but use it only to help the leaves open. Add additional hot water for the 1st steeping and steep as intended.

 

View our Pu-erh

View our Other Hei Cha

Steeping Black tea,     Steeping Green tea & Jasmine tea,     Steeping Oolong tea,     Steeping White tea,     Steeping Yellow tea

 

We will be migrating our website to a new host server on Friday August 18th 2017. Some of you may experience slower than normal page load speeds, but our site should be fully functional. If you notice any peculiarities when trying to place an order on Friday August 18th, please email us at ttquery@teatrekker.com so that we can troubleshoot it. Thanks for your patience. Dismiss