China Shou Pu-erh

Shou Pu-erh is a modern invention, dating from the 1970’s. This process of shou Pu-erh manufacture was created to meet the needs of tea drinkers who wished for Pu-erh that was ready to drink right away and that offered a bold, hearty taste. Prior to the advent of this new-style of Pu-erh, all Pu-erh was sheng Pu-erh, which required decades to age in order for it to reach its dark, strong, and full-bodied style. The new process – shou Pu-erh – came close to that taste in just a few months time and the tea was ready-to-drink then it arrived in the marketplace.

Shou Pu-erh met that demand and has become a very popular style of Pu-er ever since. This accelerated development of flavor is accomplished by exposing the mao cha to fermentationmethod in the tea factory that is known as wo dui.

Shou Pu-erh will, under good storage conditions, keep well, mellow and deepen in flavor, although it will not age and undergo the natural microbial changes that sheng Pu-erh does. It is made primarily for immediate consumption, and is sold as loose-leaf tea, and compressed shapes such as beeng chas, tuo-chas, rectangles and melons.

This is the type of Pu-erh drunk daily by people in China. Just as a noble, vintage bottle of Chateau-produced wine is not a daily drink in the West, aged sheng Pu-erh, which can be extremely costly, is drunk for special occasions and given as celebratory gifts.

A Note About Tea Trekker’s Pu-erh Selection (July 2019):

We are not sourcing full-size Pu-erh cakes these days as actively as we once were.

When a special tong or two come our way we will grab it, and we will continue with the very drinkable and ‘drink-up-able’ 100gr size of beeng, as well as the loose leaf sheng and shou forms that are basically ready-to-drink; but there are so many dedicated tea people who are really concentrating on Pu-Erh as their primary focus that we will gladly yield to their discoveries in all the various price points. We really need to focus on what our special expertise is, which is East and South Asian tea, and that takes all the time we have!

We do have several full-size beengs in the pipeline and some that we have been aging, but their arrival and release will be sporadic.

We were once quite enthusiastic about compressed tea and the whole category of Pu-erh, hei cha, etc, and the wonderful story of fermented tea in the history of China and tea, but one can only do so much in a day; so we have committed to only focus on what we can do well, which does not include Pu-erh at this time.

For us, Pu-erh is a fun add-on, and not an integral category. Pu-erh is quite complex and deserves more attention than we can give to it.

Especially right now it is a crazy market again, a repeat of the tone of about a decade ago. With speculators wreaking havoc with pricing, charlatans messing up the information flow, and counterfeiters running rampant, it requires a great deal of time and vigilance to be in the ‘dark tea’ business. So we leave this category to those with more time to spend with it than we have. 

We strongly encourage our customers to be careful and vigilant (especially above a certain price point) as Pu-erh can be very difficult to authenticate, and while some argue that if it tastes good and one can afford it then almost any transaction is okay; on the other hand we firmly believe in an honorable marketplace, so argue that product should be accurately labelled and value assessed using legitimate factors. So buyer beware!

Encouraging you for your interest in all things tea,


lleaf2 Pu-erh steeping instructions

lleaf2 New Tea, Rested Tea, and Aged Tea