Raw Pu-erh made from old-growth arbor trees possesses an array of aromas and flavors. The most common are camphor, lotus, orchid, dried jujube, dragon eye (longan) fruit, plum, ginseng, and areca. The different taste profiles in Pu-erh have to do with the grade of the leaves, the stages of aging, and the other types of trees that are grown in the general area. As the old-growth arbor tea trees have very deep roots, over time, the roots of the tea trees would intertwine with the roots of other forest trees nearby and absorb the fragrance emitted from the other trees.
Sometimes, the taste profile will transform from one flavor to another in between brews of the same tea or one may experience a bouquet of flavors within a single brew. Many Pu-erh aficionados would agree that the best taste is obtained at around the 4th or 5th brew, when the leaves are totally unfurled and the flavors are released.
Bana offers a Raw Pu-erh Sampler with of seven of our best raw teas including our very popular Purple Tip and Moonlight White.
Taste Profile of a Ripe Pu-erh
As ripe Pu-erh has undergone full fermentation, much of the bitterness and astringency inherent in the tea leaves have dissipated. Ripe Pu-erh is generally earthy, nutty or woody. Good quality aged Pu-erh should be mellow, smooth and offer a sweet (sugarcane or plum) aftertaste (hui tian). Poor quality ripe Pu-erh is flat, dull, thin and may have an unpleasant odor.
Bana offers a Ripe Pu-erh Sampler for an overview of six premium ripe teas including our best sellers.
Bana also offers a Variety Pu-erh Sampler for an overview of both raw and ripe teas including 3 of our best sellers.
Elements of Pu-erh Appreciation
• Appreciating the aroma of the tea
• Observing the clarity and color of the brew
• Appreciating the texture, the body and the flavor of the tea
• Savoring the aftertaste of the tea. The two adjectives commonly used by Chinese to describe the aftertaste are “hui gan” and “hui tian.” Hui gan refers to a cooling sensation that penetrates the entire mouth and in the back of the throat (click here for an essay on gan by Angie Lee). "Hui tian" refers to the subtle sweet finish of the teas.
• Feeling the “qi” of the tea – a warm and comfortable sensation that envelops one’s body, enabling one to relax.