The Difference of Raw Pu erh Tea and Ripe Pu erh Tea
Raw Pu erh Tea
Raw pu erh tea, known as “Sheng pu erh tea” is first made to raw ingredient from picked and fixed fresh tea leaves. The raw ingredient is sorted and graded, and then autoclaved at a high temperature to form various shapes. It is then placed in a natural way without being through manual fermentation process. Raw tea is more intense and irritating. Fresher or newer produced raw tea has a strong bitter and astringent(dryer) taste than more aged tea. The tea color is lighter in greenish yellow or some are in light golden, and has colder and stronger properties which are irritating to stomach. New raw pu erh tea is not best to drink right after it is produced, especially to someone who has stomach problems. However, a new pu erh tea from reliable brand is best choice to collect and make your conversion for later if you know how.
The process of raw pu erh tea conversion is quite slow, depending on the environmental conditions. It takes at least a decade. The longer time aging, the more complete conversion of enzymatic and non-enzymatic oxidation of polyphenolic compounds in the tea, and the stabler fragrance of aging.
Raw tea is suitable for long-term storing by people who advocates natural and likes the original ecological teas. Raw pu erh tea can be stored at home, there is endless fun and excitement to watch the gradually deeper color changing of the raw pu erh tea leaves year after year, and the fragrance becomes more and more mellow, just like the accumulation of our life experience. Of course, the value of pu erh tea will also rise year by year.
Ripe Pu erh Tea
In the process of production, ripe pu erh tea is subjected to fixing, sorting, and then manual fermentation to make tea taste mild. The effects of rapid manual fermentation, promoting the non-enzymatic auto-oxidation of polyphenolic compounds, conversion of the contents of tea leaves and reducing the astringent bitter taste, makes the taste richer, which also eliminates the musty odor and shortens the aging time. Ripe pu erh tea is good to use as long as it is produced.
Ripe pu erh tea has a mild tea property. Tea is smooth and mellow which is a good tea for ordinary drinking. Like raw tea, the aroma of ripe pu erh tea will still become smoother and richer with the time of aging. The technique of ripe pu erh tea was first developed in 1973. After the successful development of the pile fermentation by Menghai Tea Factory and Kunming Tea Factory, the tea bricks produced by Kunming Tea Factory in that year were highly praised by pu erh tea enthusiasts because of its soft golden tea and the rich flavor of jujube and ginseng. Yunnan Institute of Microbiology has won the third prize of Scientific and Technological Progress in pu erh tea fermentation research in 1985.
What is to be explained here is that many people misunderstand the "fermentation" and “wet storage”, believing that these two are equivalent. In fact, they are completely different. “Wet Storage” refers to the speculators who store new pu erh tea in an extremely humid environment, taking advantage of high humidity to promote the mildew of the tea products, so as to convert the tea rapidly and to fake as aged tea from the exterior. This is unhealthy, wet storage tea can't cope with the test of hot temperature brewing. It is tricky to choose a good ripe pu erh tea. Experienced tea enthusiasts can tell from tasting whether it is a wet storage tea, inferior tea or even seriously mildewed tea.
How to differentiate raw or ripe pu erh tea
The new-made raw tea and ripe tea are very different, and can be distinguished from the color of the appearance: the raw tea looks dark green, while the ripe tea looks dark red, chestnut red or even chestnut black color.
The main difference between raw and ripe pu erh tea is that the ripe pu erh tea is being through moderately pile-fermentation, that ripe tea is made to be consumed right after short time. The tea cake is dark black, the tea color mostly in reddish brown but bright.
Raw pu erh, also known as Sheng pu erh, is a relatively traditional processed tea. Raw tea is directly pressed into a cake, it is not manually fermented. It relied on the natural fermentation by passage of time. Generally, 5 to 10 years aged tea is best. The color of the tea is golden yellow, relatively bright, is full of domineering. It plays the role of reducing fat. It is not recommended to drink before meals.
It is more difficult to differentiate the raw tea or ripe tea upon the long aged pu erh tea.
Appearance; aged raw tea looks dark but with little green effect, while aged ripe tea has black color with little red effect. However, the color of ripe pu erh cake is deeper than the raw pu erh cake overall.
Aroma; aged raw tea (dry stored) has a strong fragrance of Aging, but the fragrance of aged ripe tea is lighter. Ripe pu erh tea is divided into aroma of jujube, ginseng, woody, lotus and many other flavors.
Brewed leaves: the brewed leaves of aged raw tea look bright green of dark, and have apparently better looking strips. Brewed ripe tea leaves look bright dark brown, but messy leaves like dregs not having a good looking.
brewed raw pu erh tea leavesbrewed ripe pu erh tea leaves
Pu erh tea is easy to brew and lasts longer, unlike others teas which need be very particular about the brewing time. A well-aged pu erh tea doesn’t taste bitter nor astringent even though it is over brewed. It has so much fun and also has the convenience as tea bag brewing.
Pu erh tea is also easy to store, and tea converse variously by certain environmental conditions. In a certain definition, Pu erh tea is a “living organism”, and its main feature is the post-fermentation or post-aging that continues after the completion of the tea shaping. By the passage of time, the conversion of its flavor becomes more stable and restrained, and the tea tastes different from time to time. From the time tea leaves picked off the tree to the time brewing in the tea pot, they are all in the form of "ing", and in the process of conversion all the time.
Old aged pu erh tea collection is similar to red wine collection, both is particular about the production year, origin, the rarity and preservation. It is a collectible drink that the price will only raise. That is why pu erh tea enthusiasts always collect new tea which tea brand or manufacturer they trust.