Throughout Yunnan Province, there are many legends told about how Pu-erh tea came into existence. Perhaps the most beautiful of these is the tale of a grandfather who lived during the Han Dynasty more than 1700 years ago.
The grandfather, a tea maker, was very old and knowing he was going to die, wanted to leave something for his newly born grandson to remember him by. Rather than write a letter or have a statue erected, the grandfather decided to do what he did best, create a new tea. He decided that it would have to improve with age so that when his grandson became an adult, he could appreciate the spirit of his grandfather and savor the product of his craft. The grandfather decided to start with a freshly plucked long leaf style known as máochá, from the mountains of Southern Yunnan. This he fermented gently and pressed into a bowl, allowing it to dry into a hardened form. The hard packed tea would then be buried in the ground and aged like a fine wine. When he was finished, the grandfather buried the tea cake along with the recipe he had developed to make it. Many long years later, his grandson who was now a man, un-earthed the aged tea. Breaking off a piece of the hard, bowl shaped crust and brewing it, he found the cup to be delightfully earthy, sweet and invigorating. Using the accompanying recipe, he began producing the tea according to his grandfather's instructions. The rest, as they say in Yunnan, is history.
To this day, Pu-erh production has remained virtually unchanged from days of yore. Raw máochá, specifically a long leaf Yunnan tea variety, is fermented lightly, pressed and steamed. (The key difference in modern production is that hydraulic tea presses are used instead of the old hand presses.) Like the ancient teas, many of today's pu-erhs can be stored and aged for years, but there are also many excellent young-drinkers being produced for enjoyment now. Guangnan Green Pu-erh is one such tea. Characterized by a bright, reddish-yellowish infusion, the cup offers a mellow sweetness offset by subtle earthy tones. Assertive and thirst-quenching, this is a tea you might easily find yourself drinking all day - enjoy.
Traditional Chinese brewing method:
Break off enough tea for one cup, (About a TABLESPOON):
- 1st brew 30 seconds;
- 2nd brew 40 seconds;
- 3rd brew 40 seconds;
- 4th brew 60 seconds;
- 5th brew 90 second;
- 6th brew 120 seconds.
With each subsequent brewing, note how the character of this wonderful green pu-erh subtly shifts in terms of strength and flavor.
Bring filtered or spring water to 190°F. Add 1 tsp of tea leaves to an 8oz cup. Pour boiling water over the tea leaves and let steep 4 minutes.