• February 16, 2024 3 min read

    We just added a new small batch ripe puerh from Vietnam to the offering list and thought we'd take a few minutes to do a deeper dive into our whole catalog of ripe puerhs.  To commemorate this fun discussion and the fact that I got to drink about 24 ripe puerh teas in one day, all of our ripe puerh offerings are 15% off through the end of the day Sunday 2/18/24.   (Additionally, all of our matcha and matcha gear are also on sale through 2/18/24.)

    If you're not familiar with ripe puerh, here is a very short introduction to the category.  The family of puerh teas come in two main types: raw (sheng) and ripe (shou).  Both types are considered fermented teas, but they undergo their fermentation quite differently.  Raw puerhs ideally ferment naturally over time and at their own pace while ripe puerh teas undergo an accelerated fermentation process. 

    Because of this difference between the two fermentations processes, they taste and look quite different from one another.  Raw puerhs have a lot more variability in how they taste and appear, while ripe puerhs almost always have prominent elements of sweet earthiness or forest at the forefront with a very smooth mouthfeel.   They also tend to be darker in color (both the dry leaf and the infusion) than raw puerh teas.  

    We currently offer 30 ripe puerh teas in our shop and it can be a bit daunting to wade through them if you're new to the category.  We frequently get asked how some of these might be different from each other, so I took one for the team (😍) and did a big comparative tasting of almost all of them.  Here are some notes on the selections that stood out to me. 

    Quite sweet and easy drinking with notes of maple, date, and chocolate.  The liquor is a dark cinnamon color with lots of clarity to it.  It's easy to swallow.  A touch medicinal, but in an appealing way.  File this under the "easy drinking" category. 

    Rather light liquor.  There is a bit of astringency to the tea which is kind of unusual to discern in ripe puer teas.  Tasting notes indicate dark fruits, nuts, leather, and earth with a rougher (but pleasant) mouthfeel.  File this under "lighter fermentation, easy drinking."
    Liquor is on the darker side, with very obvious fruit aromatics.  I get sweet cherries, lots of salivation, and a very pleasant brightness.  File this under "stands out in a crowd."
    The wet leaves smell like donuts, so that's an easy in for me.  Quite delicious, very sweet and smooth (no real leather, wood, or bread notes).  It's not exceptionally dynamic, but it's quite good and reminds me a little bit of "still waters run deep."   File this under the "easy drinking" category. 
    Liquor is just a wee bit cloudy which isn't my favorite thing but this is a real stand out tea.  It's minerally with a delightful expansive energy.  I pick up on some floral notes (fairly unusual in ripe).  It's woodsy and mouthwatering with medium thickness.  File this under "fit for Qi junkies."

    Quite a dark liquor.  Tasting notes include molasses and dark chocolate.  It's sweet and crisp, with a fuller body than its sister tea, Red Loon.  File under "easy drinking."
    A real stand out in the crowd.  Notes of incense and old musty books (in a nice way!).  Spice, leather, Chinese medicine.  An intense sweetness but not really sugary - more like the sweetness that comes from culinary or medicinal roots. File this under "totally worth the hype but don't buy if you think you won't like musty books."
    Another stand out.  It's light, mild, and spicy.  The feeling in the mouth is super pleasant and full with just a wee bit of drying.  Notes of leather.  Really too bad there is such a small amount of this left.  File under "stands out in a crowd."
    Dark liquor.  Sweet and smooth, definitely of the "easy drinking" type.  Some notes of camphor but not extremely woodsy.  File this under "cozy easy drinker."
    Dark, cinnamon colored liquor.  Pervasive sweetness to this one, a little tiny bit medicinal, with quite unusual date notes.  File under "stands out in a crowd."

    Stay tuned for part two of the deep dive!