Xinhui Mandarin Ripe Pu-erh is one of our very favorite teas! Also known as 'Ganpu,' these little delights should absolutely be a part of your tea repertoire.
We'll start with what's most important: the taste and mouth experience. The unripe mandarin is a perfect tangy, citrusy match for the sweet, mellow earthiness of the ripe pu-erh. The tea is inviting, sliding down the throat with little effort. The little guys are easy drinking! Each mandarin can be steeped multiple times (easily 6 or 7) and each steeping gives more of that tangy sweet earthiness.
Next up is their extreme adorable-ness. Each ganpu is painstakingly created. The tops to the mandarins are taken off in a circle, the fruit inside is scooped out with a special tool, and the peel of the body is then kept and stuffed with a ripe pu-erh of an age that is meant to complement the sourness of the green skin. The stuffed mandarins are dried, their tops put on, and then each are individually wrapped to preserve their aromatics.
There are at least three ways to steep this tea. You could toss the entire ganpu in the pot and let it steep grandpa style with very hot water (that's what I do). You could poke holes in the skin so that more of the water can penetrate more of the skin and tea more easily and quickly and still steep it grandpa style (or take out the mandarin/tea after a set period of time). You could also break off pieces of the peel and and steep that with the pu-erh as desired.
These mandarins hail from Xinhui, Guangdong Province, picked in 2017. The pu-erh is from Yunnan (of course!), 2015 vintage. Each mandarin weighs approximately 7 to 9 grams, though they will vary.
Note: you may notice some white crystallization on the exterior of the mandarin. Fear not! It is crystallized citrus oil, naturally occurring from the drying process.