Understanding the Difference between Raw Pu-erh Tea and Ripe Pu-erh Tea

by Brooke Davis April 22, 2016

Understanding the Difference between Raw Pu-erh Tea and Ripe Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh, which is tea that has a very unique shape, aroma, flavor, and appearance, is a great Chinese tea to check out.  When it comes to the tea in our daily lives, it actually makes a big difference.  It doesn’t matter if you are a female, male, child, or an adult the tea is good for you.  If you are looking for weight loss, having a nice figure, or lowering your blood pressure, it is for you.  On top of that, it has a great taste and flavor that makes it nice to drink.

Yunnan is where this tea has been origin grown and processed.  The important thing to note is that this tea can be classified in two main categories: non-fermented and fermented tea.  The taste that you prefer will depend on the method of processing the tea that you want to purchase.  Generally as a rule of thumb, the more that it sits, the more valuable that it becomes.

Raw Pu-erh (Puerh Sheng, Non-Fermented Tea)

This is a tea that does not go through the piling process, which is called raw pu-erh, it is harvested and stored naturally.  With this style of tea, it has a very fresh smell to it, it can be bitter, but generally has a sweet aftertaste.

Ripe Pu-erh (Puerh Shu, Fermented Tea)

This tea does go through a piling process which causes it to be a bolder flavor.  This tea has a very mild flavor to it, as going through the piling process creates that.  It has a very earthy smell, and it is a more mellow tea, but it does have a thick flavor to it.  Because of the fermentation process, the leaves are actually a reddish-brown.

Understanding the Difference

See Table Below:

Type Raw Puerh Ripe Puerh
Cake, tuo cha, and compressed brick.
Cake, tuo cha, compressed brick, and san cha.
Processing Processing involves taking fresh tea leave right after they are picked, storing them in a natural manner, and making them into a particular shape listed above. This is done with a sun drying process and a rolling process. Ripened tea is created through a piling process with puerh sheng. The process includes a sun drying process, a rolling and piling process, and molding it into a shape listed above.
When you are processing the raw puerh tea the process is called shai qing mao cha. With the piling process it becomes the shu puerh which is ripened. Piling is a process that was started in 1973 in a factory in Kunming, if tea is listed as ripened before that date, it is not ripened and instead it is a raw method.
Pack and Store Raw tea: Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006 Paddy Flavor Ripened Tea: Fengqing tribute Pu-erh Cake Tea 2007

Storage: store using tea bags that allow it to get clean, dry air and avoid moisture.

Storage: same method as puerh sheng
Color for package: green for raw tea Color for package: deep brown or red
Aroma flavor Chestnut fragrance and buds fragrance. Mellow and earthy flavor with aroma.
Dry Leaves appear as dark green with brown and white tips that have stripes. The color is maroon and dark chestnut and can actually be referred to as a pig liver color.
Liquor Bright Yellow
Dark Red Clear
Taste The taste has a strong fragrance that will help stimulate stomachs. It can also product saliva. This tea has a stronger flavor than green tea. After the piling process and the tea catechins, the bitter taste that it has reduces and it has a deep fragrance and a wonderful flavor.
Yellow Green
Dark Green
Moist and Soft
Whole leaf even after brewed
loose Dark Color that is not soft or moist
For you This tea is great for weight loss and for stomach problems, be sure that you are checking it out. This tea will protect the stomach, it can also help with weight lossand it can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol problems.

All the Best Tips

You will find that with loose raw pu-erh you are getting a compressed tea. You should make sure to keep it at a consistent cool temperature, with a consistent low humidity levels, outside of direct light sources and airflow, with no strong odors or unpleasant odors in the air..

With compressed pu-erh, you need to know how to store it. You want to make sure that it is convenient to store it, but that you are also doing it correctly so that it tastes the way that you want it to.

With piling, the fermented tea will go through a piling process so that the leaves are able to dry up in the warehouse or wherever it is being processed. With piling, it will get strained with a certain amount of water, the more water, the faster the process goes and the softer that the tea leaves will get. Once this is done, you can drink the tea immediately.

With Pu-erh tea, the packaging is generally two different colors, that is how people tell them apart and get to purchase the tea that they like. Red for compressed Ripe Pu-erh and green for compressed Raw Pu-erh.

Brooke Davis
Brooke Davis


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