Pu Erh Mini Cake
In a category of its own, Pu-erh tea undergoes a special production process during which the tea leaves are dried and rolled after which they undergo secondary microbial fermentation and oxidation. The tea is most commonly pressed into various shapes (domes, disks, bricks, etc) and the gradual fermentation and maturation process continues further during storage. The shaped pu-erh tea can be stored in order to mature the tea and let it develop more flavour, very much like maturing a good bottle of wine.
This Pu-erh makes a great introduction to the world of pu-erh teas both in flavour and convenience. It comes in very neat individually wrapped small dome-shaped cakes that are around 4 to 5 grams in weight. This makes them ideal for brewing a small teapot – just use one cake per roughly 500ml, or split a cake in half to brew a normal-sized cup. You should remove the white paper wrapper before you brew this tea! This Xiao Yeh Pu-erh tea is classed as a ‘ripe pu-erh’ or ‘Shu Cha’ (熟茶), which means that it has undergone accelerated fermentation in order to speed up the ageing process and improve flavour.
Xiao Yeh Pu-erh tea comes in small cakes that are tightly pressed together black leaves with golden tips. The brewed liquor has a pleasant but a slightly unusual fragrance, which has definite notes of smoke and peat. The flavour is very well balanced and not too earthy, which can be a common predominant taste amongst dark teas. On the tongue there is a neat balance of wood, fruit, smoke, earth, with particular notes of peat and prune. This is a very satisfying drink and a great introduction to pu-erh as it is very well balanced and enjoyable.
This tea is best brewed with water at 200°F/95°C for around 3 minutes. The flavor holds up very well to multiple brewings.