How I generally brew shu pu’er

My contribution to this month’s ATB-sponsored Tea Blog Carnival is on the topic of my general methods for brewing shu (cooked) pu’er.

The steps and the accoutrements:

  1. I almost always use Crystal Geyser spring water for shu pu’er (and other teas). It’s affordable and works just as well or better with tea as some of the more expensive spring waters I’ve tried.
  2. When brewing shu pu’er I always use the Kamjove electric water kettle for heating the water to boiling.
  3. I generally brew at the tea table with the small, blue-green Yixing teapot that has been dedicated to brewing only shu pu’er teas. It is quite small and works perfectly.
  4. I use boiling water and rinse the leaves with a very short initial infusion that also serves to warm the cups and pitcher (fair cup).
  5. The first drinkable infusion is about 1 minute long.
  6. I almost always use a glass serving pitcher (fair cup) because I like to be able to see the rich oranges and reds of the pu’er tea liquor, especially when there’s light coming through it.
  7. The cups vary more than the teapot, but the cups I use most often with pu’er are the unglazed plain Yixing cups. They’re small, thin and very nice to drink from.
  8. The number of subsequent infusions varies depending on what a particular tea is able to yield, but it’s generally at least 5, and each one is usually also about a minute, but sometimes longer if the tea seems to need more infusion time.


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  2. Wow…a minue-long first steep. That must produce something espresso-like! I’ll have to try that sometime. What’s your leaf to volume ratio?

    • 1 minute is a generalization. Sometimes it’s probably more like 30-45 seconds, but I like it strong. I usually fill the pot 1/3 full of leaf.

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  4. This post makes me want to break out some shu (which doesn’t happen super often). I like your wares; the glass sharing pitcher with the little feet is especially attractive. What producer’s shu puer do you prefer, and what tea is that pictured? I like Tu Lin for the younger shu. Great post, thanks.

  5. Interesting process, I will have to try it! shu puer sounds like an exotic tea, it must be rarer than pu erh, yes?