Friday, December 21, 2007

Pu-erh Class agenda

The World of Pu’er Tea

Part one - 1.5 hours

  1. History

a. Pre-Communist China:

1. Medicinal beginnings & Tribal tea

2. Tea horse road

3. Old Brands

b. Communist China:

1. Government factories

2. The Cultural Revolution & Recovery

c. The Modern Market:

4. Factory privatization

5. Hong Kong returns to China

6. Tea investment: Pu’er as commodity

  1. Why Pu’er?
    1. Terroir and connoisseurship

i.Flavor range

ii. Mouthfeel and texture

    1. Appreciation of Pu’er: The Pu’er Mythology

i. Qi and the Dao of Pu

ii. Health claims: what the studies do and don’t say

  1. Origination
    1. Location: tea mountains and production regions

i. Xishuangbanna

ii. Simao

iii. Lincang

iv. Dehong & other border areas

v. Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Guandong, Guizhou, Guangxi

    1. Raising and processing: what results in pu’er?

i. Varietals

ii. Environment: the ideal growing environment

1. High elevation

2. “Natural” tea:

a. No bush cloning

b. Freedom from cultivation/pruning

c. Organic tea?

iii. Processing

1. Making Maocha: Plucking, [moisture reduction], sha qing, [striping/rolling], drying

2. Factors in compression

a. Stone mold, machine pressed, and levels of compression

b. Shapes and sizes

c. Fruit rind compression

3. Wrapping and packing

4. Production errors: “green tea pu’er” and “oolong pu’er”

  1. Subcategories
    1. Major categories:

i. Sheng vs. Shu

ii. Young vs. Aged

iii. Compressed vs. Loose

    1. Minor distinctions:

i. Season

ii. Leaf grade and “recipe”

iii. Storage: very wet vs. wet vs. dry vs. very dry

iv. Plantation vs. Wild Arbor vs. Ancient Tree tea

v. Factory vs. Private Producer

vi. Single Estate vs. Blend

vii. Shu tea: grade and fermentation

    1. Experimental and novel varieties

i. Yin zhen “Silver Bud” tea

ii. Zi ya “purple bud” tea

iii. True ye sheng “wild” tea

  1. How to choose a pu’er: Taste and Trust issues
    1. Purchasing by goal: aging, drinking
    2. Purchasing by philosophy: a survey of divergent opinions on “age-ability”
    3. Liars and cheats: fakes and the “tea master” syndrome
    4. Information starvation

  1. Aging pu’er – storage methods and ideal conditions
    1. “Traditional” Storage (Pre-1993)
    2. “Dry” Storage (Post-1993)
    3. Where: containers and locations
    4. Humidity

  1. How to brew: Various methods and idiosyncrasies
    1. Western brewing
    2. Gongfu brewing

i. Water: mineral content, heating methods & temperatures

ii. Teaware: Timing and Ratios

1. Gaiwan

2. Yixing: matching a pot to sheng, shu, and aged pu’er

iii. Survey of various approaches

Include: definition of terms, map of Yunnan

Part two - 1.5 hours

Tea selections will be featured after Jason's speach:

2 young sheng (1 maocha & one cake)
2 young shu (1 cake & 1 tangerine)
2 aged (wet & dry)

Courtesy of Jason, his private stash of rare and old finds might be within reach! If you weren't drunk by the end of the class, the pu fest will continue after class. :D

1 comment:

k said...

Have you considered publishing a podcast on tea? The world is eager for tea information! :3