Yongde Raw Pu-erh Pearls (永德普洱生龙珠) tea comes from Da Xue Shan (Big Snow Mountains) in Yongde County, Lincang Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. The large wild tea trees that the leaves for this pu-erh are plucked from are found around Da Xue Shan National Reserve, at an altitude of over 2,200m. The pearls all weight around 7-10g each so you can use one pearl for a large tea pot if you are brewing Western style. Our 10g sample pouches come with 1 pearl per pouch, 50g pouches have around 5-7 pearls per pouch.
Pu-erh is a type of tea which has undergone unique processing distinct from black tea, and is also referred to as ‘dark’ tea in the West. Many varieties of pu-erh are produced and it is a particular speciality of Yunnan Province. The name Pu-erh comes from Pu’er, which was an important place for tea trading in ancient China.
Pu-erh tea undergoes a unique production process, during which the tea leaves are dried and rolled after which they undergo secondary microbial fermentation and oxidation. This unique processing sets it apart from black tea and means that pu-erh fits within the separate dark teas category. The tea is most commonly pressed into various shapes (domes, disks, bricks, etc) or can be left loose and the gradual fermentation and maturation process continues further during storage. These Yongde Raw Pu-erh Pearls have been pressed into small round shapes, which are like large pearls. As this is a raw (sheng) pu-erh, the ageing process has been happening slowly and naturally since spring 2013. These types of teas improve with age if they are stored properly, however this tea is perfectly drinkable now and makes a very nice drink indeed!
Yongde Raw Pu-erh Pearls tea has been shaped and then wrapped in foil for storage. When you remove the foil wrapping, you can see rather large very densely compressed leaves with silvery tips. Each pearl produces a medium strength liquor that is satisfying and balanced – a little sweet with a slightly savoury finish. The flavours of this tea are fresh forest-like, with a woody character and notes of apricots and fruits. Each infusion changes the flavours, so make sure to experiment by brewing this tea many times!
This tea is best brewed with water at 90°C for 3-5 minutes multiple times. Alternatively, and to get the best out of Yongde Raw Pu-erh Pearls tea, use a yixing tea pot, gaiwan or infuser cup measuring around 250ml. Using a whole pearl, start with a 40s infusion that is to be discarded. Follow by 2-4 infusions at 30s each as the pearl starts to break down. When the pearl is more separated into loose leaves in the brewing vessel, decrease the brewing time to 15-20s per infusion. When you notice the flavour on subsequent infusions diminish, you can start to increase the brewing time. As you taste the tea, you can adjust the infusion time based on your taste preference and the tea ware that you are using. This way you can brew this tea multiple times and easily get over 15 infusions from one pearl.