Raw Pu'er tea is unprocessed, or as the Chinese say, "unfired." It is the most common type of pu'er available, and it's also one of the most affordable. This type of pu'er hasn't undergone any time-consuming processing such as fermentation, winnowing, or maturation. Instead, raw pu'er is simply unfired pu'er.
Ripe pu'er has been processed with some patience through fermentation or winnowing or stored in Yunnan storage baskets for extended periods before being sold at marketplaces like older teas that have matured over time and turned from green to yellow and red. In this article, we will discuss different types of ripe pu'er and how you can tell if yours has been processed in this way before purchasing a vintage teacup
How to Tell Raw Pu'er From Ripe Pu'er
There are a few ways to tell if your tea is ripe pu'er. One way is by the colour of the tea leaves—if your pu'er has turned from green to yellow and red, it may be ripe pu'er. Another way to tell if your pu'er is ripe is by looking at its smell. If you purchase a loose-leaf Puer from a market stall that smells like alcohol or has an unusual aroma, it may be ripe pu'er. Finally, if you're ever unsure about whether a particular store's pu'er is ripe or not, ask them how long they have been sitting on their shelves before selling them. You'll know they've had time to ferment when they answer this question with "more than one year".
What is Ripe Pu'er?
A pu'er tea that has undergone the fermentation, winnowing and storage process is called a ripe pu'er, a slightly more expensive option than raw puer. Your ripe puer will have a golden-yellow colour. This type of pu er tea will also have a more intense flavour, more complex textures, and more pronounced aroma notes.
What Makes a Tea "Ripe"?
1. Ripe pu'er is processed through fermentation, winnowing, or ageing.
2. The tea leaves are yellow and red.
3. The tea doesn't require great skill to brew or steep and is much more forgiving than other pu'er teas.
4. It has a milder and more mellow taste than raw PU er tea.
Destinations for Ripe Pu'er Tea
Puer tea comes in three different forms: raw, ripe and aged. These can be differentiated by the degree of processing they've undergone.
Ripe Pu er tea has been processed through fermentation or winnowing and has changed colour from green to yellow or red. It also should have been aged for some time.
How to Identify Ripe Pu er Tea At Marketplaces and Stores？
The easiest way to tell if your pu'er is ripe is by looking at the colour of the tea. If your tea is a dark reddish hue or black, it's been processed. Sometimes, you can also recognize ripe pu'er through its smell.
When shopping for raw pu'er at marketplaces or stores, note how long the tea has been on sale and how much it costs per gram. Pu'er that have been on store shelves for less than two years are typically unprocessed, while those that have been on store shelves for more than three years may have undergone some processing like fermentation or winnowing to produce their desired flavour profile.