Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gongfu Style for Light/Medium Fermentation Shu Pu-erh

This is a general guideline for making light to medium fermentation shu pu-erh gongfu style. This may not work for every pu-erh in that category, but I have had success with this method on every pu-erh I have tried it on! Note that many pu-erhs will not make it through all 6 infusions while still carrying a full bodied taste.

Having a systematic brewing style for a particular type of tea allows you to compare teas easier as well as brew a delicious cup each time. I recommend beginning with the instructions below and then changing them to suit your tastes if necessary. This guide is meant as an introduction to gongfu style pu-erh brewing.

Measure out 1g of pu-erh per 30ml (1 fl. oz.) of water.

Break apart the pu-erh as much as possible without breaking the leaves too much. Broken leaves produce bitterness.

Heat spring water to 96ºC (205ºF).

Fill the teapot or gaiwan with water and let it warm up for 30 seconds to one minute. Pour that water into other teaware to warm them up.

Add the leaves and let them warm in the covered teapot or gaiwan for 1 minute.

Remove the lid and smell the leaves.

Rinse the leaves for 5-10 seconds and pour that water out into other teaware.

Allow them to sit for 30 seconds, then pour the water out of all teaware.

Steep for 30 seconds for your first infusion.

Subsequent infusions should be: 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes.

For the full experience, smell the leaves between each infusion and sip slowly!

After easing into pu-erh with this guide, you should adjust your leaf amount and steeping time to your liking, and note that many pu-erh's will require slightly different parameters, so experiment! The number one rule is to enjoy yourself, so don't worry too much about the specifics — just go with that feels right!

Enjoy your tea,

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