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Zhong Sai Qing Mao Puer from 1973

Brick, 250 Gr from China (SKU 4591)

Big Leaf Zhong Sai Qing Mao Tea from the Yunnan Meng Hai Factory. Produced in 1973. This Ripe Pu'er Cake is produced in the Yunnan province of China. It is made from ripe Puerh tea leaves compressed into the shape of a brick. This batch from Menghai is exceptional, with a smooth, rich, sweet earthy aftertaste.

Form: Single brick. Total weight approximately 250 gr. Size: 14 x 9 x 2 cm.



Big Leaf Zhong Sai Qing Mao Tea from the Yunnan Meng Hai Factory. Produced in 1973. This Ripe Pu'er Cake is produced in the Yunnan province of China. It is made from ripe Puerh tea leaves compressed into the shape of a brick. This batch from Menghai is exceptional, with a smooth, rich, sweet earthy aftertaste.

The secret of making Pu'er tea has been closely guarded in China for centuries. The tea leaves are collected from growers of a special broad-leaf tea tree, which are said to be related to ancient prehistoric tea trees. The leaves go through two types of fermentation, which gives this tea its unique characteristics; a mild, but distinctively earthy flavour. Pu'er teas are much like fine wines, which become smoother and more balanced with age.

Pu’er or Pu'er tea (pronounced ‘poo-air’) is a highly prized and popular fermented tea produced in the Yunnan province of China. It is renowned both for its purported health benefits and because it is aged, in some cases for many decades to develop its depth of flavour. Fermentation is a tea production style in which the tea leaves undergo microbial fermentation and oxidation after they are dried and rolled. This process is a Chinese specialty and produces tea known as Hei Cha (黑茶), commonly translated to dark, or black tea (this type of tea is completely different from what in West is known as "black tea", which in China is called "red tea").  Like other teas it is collected from the plant Camelia sinensis however Pu’er is made from a specific broad leaf variety of the tea plant (Camelia sinensis var assamica) known colloquially as Da Ye Zhong (大叶种). The leaves are harvested from varying aged trees, the most prized being many hundreds of years old, known as GuShu. Unlike other teas Pu’er tea undergoes microbial fermentation as it ages and like a fine wine. Aged Pu’er tea changes in character becoming more mellow with more complex deep notes. Some Pu’er teas can be aged for 20, 30 years or longer. As with wines Pu’er becomes more valuable and highly sought after as it ages. 

There are 2 main varieties of Pu’er tea resulting from different ways of processing the leaves, these are known as Shou (ripened) and Sheng (raw). Sheng is the original form of Pu'er. For producing Sheng, tea leaves are pressed into shape and stored. The fermentation takes place here in a natural way. Sheng is therefore often referred to as raw or nncooked Pu'er. This style of Pu'er takes several years to mature and gain in flavour with age. After suddenly increasing demand of Pu'er in the 70s, a process was developed to age Pu'er faster. Artificially aged Pu'er is called Shou, Ripe Pu'er and sometimes "cooked" Pu'er. The tea is not really cooked; the term “cooked” refers to the artificial ageing process similar to composting.

Pu’er tea is available in compressed ‘bricks’ (Juan Cha), ‘cakes’ (Beeng Cha), Bell Shape (Toa Cha) Mushroom Shape (Maw Gu Toaw) and even packed into citrus peel.  We offer a range of different Pu’er teas for your consideration and enjoyment. [1][2][3]

Pu'er tea is made from the leaves of Camelia sinensis var assamica, a broad leaf variety of the tea tree known colloquially as Da Ye Zhong (大叶种). Though recent DNA test showed that it's an entire new species. The discoverer named this plant Camellia taliensis to honour the Dai (Thai) minority which uses this plant traditionally to produce tea. [3].  Pu'er is produced in the Yunnan province of China.  Pu'er leaves are harvested from plantation tree's and wild trees. The Chinese have some broad categories for the age of Pu'er Tea trees with "Gu Shu" the oldest being the most prized [3]

Plantation bushes (Guànmù, 灌木; taídì, 台地): Cultivated tea bushes, from the seeds or cuttings of wild tea trees and planted in relatively low altitudes and flatter terrain. The tea produced from these plants are considered inferior due to the use of pesticides and chemical fertiliser in cultivation, and the lack of pleasant flavours, and the presence of harsh bitterness and astringency from the tea.
    
Wild arbor trees (Yěfàng, 野放): Most producers claim that their Pu-er is from wild trees, but most use leaves from older plantations that were cultivated in previous generations that have gone feral due to the lack of care. These trees produce teas of better flavour due to the higher levels of secondary metabolite produced in the tea tree. As well, the trees are typically cared for using organic practices, which includes the scheduled pruning of the trees in a manner similar to pollarding. Despite the good quality of their produced teas, "wild arbor" trees are not as prized as the truly wild trees.
    
Wild trees (Gŭshù, 古树; literally "old tree"): Teas from old wild trees, grown without human intervention, are the highest valued Pu'er teas. Such teas are valued for having deeper and more complex flavours, often with Camphor or "Mint" notes, said to be imparted by the many Camphor trees that grow in the same environment as the wild tea trees. Young raw Pu'er teas produced from the leaf tips of these trees also lack overwhelming astringency and bitterness often attributed to young pu'er. [3]

The Six Famous Tea Mountains

Although tea and particularly Pu'er tea is is grown and produced throughout whole Yunnan, it’s primarily the tea mountains that made the province famous. Well known are the old Six Famous Tea Mountains which are located in Xishuangbanna prefecture of southern Yunnan. These are the old Six Famous Mountains[4]:

Gedeng Shan
Mangzhi Shan
Mansa Shan
Manzhuan Shan
Yibang Shan
Youle Shan

The Six Famous Tea Mountains were redefined over the years again and again. Some areas or mountains where added but often only the name but not the area itself. Currently, the following areas are considered as the Six Famous Tea Mountains:

Bulang Shan
Jingmai Shan
Menghai Shan
Nannuo Shan
Yiwu Shan
Youle Shan

Beside these Six Famous Mountains there are also other famous areas. Lao Bangzhan for example is currently totally hip and maybe one day it will be considered as one of the Six Famous Tea Mountains. [5]

List of compounds: Caffeine, L-Theanine, GABA, Phenols; epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epifzelechin gallate, catechin, gallocatechin (GC), quercetin,rutin, kaempferol, strictinin, theogallin, chlorogenic acid, coniferin, myricetin, gallic acid.[12][13][14][15]

There are many purported health benefits associated with Pu’er such as weight loss, lowering of cholesterol, increased energy, reduced stress levels, cleansing, bone health and Cancer prevention.  The validity of these claims require further investigation [6]. Pu'er is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants have a wide range of benefits. Pu'er is stress reducing;

Gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA) found in Pu'er has been shown to be anxiolytic “GABA is an important neurotransmitter with the chief inhibitory activity in the mammalian central nervous system. GABA is known to exhibit antihypertensive effects (5), and teas rich in GABA have been demonstrated to induce a fall in blood pressure in rats” (Syu et al 2008)[7].

L-Theanine; Raw Pu'er contains more than ripe (Syu et al 2008). The only free form (nonprotein) amino acid in teas (Syu et al 2008). Theanine “is very important because of its biological effects and flavour characteristics. For example, theanine has been demonstrated to increase serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels in the brain, which impart neuroprotective effects” (Syu et al 2008)[7].

Statins - Lovastatins are found in most ripe Pu'er but not in raw Pu'er until they have been stored for a while. There is a direct correlation between statin levels and storage time for both ripe and raw. The most likely fungi to produce lovastatins are from 3 genera: Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Trichoderma. Specifically A. tubingensis, A. wentii, A. fumigatus, P. chrysogenum, T. asperellum and T. citrinoviride (Zhao et al 2013).[8]

As well as having the same healthy properties as other tea, such as antioxidant functions, anticancer, hypertension and dental caries, many pharmacological studies have shown that ripe Pu'er tea can assist in weight loss and suppress fatty acid synthase expression (Chiang et al 2006)[9], lower the level of total cholesterol (Kuo et al 2005)[10], and decrease blood glucose and blood lipid levels (Dong et al 2007; Zhang et al 2009).[11]

Carefully separate the desired amount of tea leaves from the cake (approx 3-5g per 100 ml of water). Place the Pu'er in your teapot and rinse the leaves, pot and cups with boiling water, discarding this water immediately to remove any impurities. Then to brew your tea, for ripe Pu'er, fill your teapot with boiling water, or for raw Pu'er use water at 85 degrees Celcius. For the initial brew steep the water for 10-20 seconds, and for each subsequent brew, add another 5-10 seconds of brewing time or until the desired strength has been reached. From one portion of Pu'er one can make multiple brews, each producing their own character. You are looking for a clear and bright tea, with deep mahogany hues.

Raw Pu'er and Maocha; After picking appropriate tender leaves, the first step in making raw or ripened Pu'er is an optional wilting/withering stage, thus converting the leaf to Maocha (青毛茶 or 毛茶; literally, "light green rough tea" or "rough tea" respectively). Plucked leaves are handled gingerly to prevent bruising and unwanted oxidation. Weather permitting, the leaves are then spread out in the sun or a ventilated space to wilt and remove some of the water content. On overcast or rainy days, the leaves will be wilted by light heating, a slight difference in processing that will affect the quality of the resulting Maocha and Pu'er. The wilting process may be skipped altogether depending on the tea processor.

The leaves are then dry pan-fried using a large wok in a process called "kill green" (殺青; pinyin: shā qīng), which arrests most enzyme activity in the leaf and prevents full oxidation. After pan-frying, the leaves are rolled, rubbed, and shaped into strands through several steps to lightly bruise the tea and then left to dry in the sun. Unlike green tea produced in China which is dried with hot air after the pan-frying stage to completely kill enzyme activity, leaves used in the production of Pu'er are only pan-fried and thus a small amount of enyzmes are left which contribute a minor amount of oxidation to the leaves during sun-drying. The bruising of the tea is also important in helping this minimal oxidation to occur and both of these steps are significant in contributing to the uniqueness of Pu'er tea. Once dry, Maocha can be sent directly to the factory to be pressed into raw Pu'er, or to undergo further processing to make ripened Pu'er. Sometimes Maocha is sold directly as loose-leaf "raw" Sheng Cha or it can be matured for 2-3 years in loose leaf form due to the faster rate of natural fermentation in an uncompressed state. This product is then pressed into numerous shapes and sold as "raw" Sheng Cha as a more matured final product.

Ripe pu'er; "Ripened" Shou Cha (熟茶) tea is pressed Maocha that has been specially processed to imitate aged "raw" Sheng Cha tea. Although it is also known as cooked Pu'er, the process does not actually employ cooking to imitate the ageing process. The term may come about due to inaccurate translation due to the dual meaning of "Shú" (熟) as both "fully cooked" and "fully ripened".

The process used to convert Máochá into ripened Pu'er is a recent invention that manipulates conditions to approximate the result of the ageing process by prolonged bacterial and fungal fermentation in a warm humid environment under controlled conditions, a technique called Wò Dūi (渥堆, "wet piling" in English), which involves piling, dampening, and turning the tea leaves in a manner much akin to composting.

The piling, wetting, and mixing of the piled Máochá ensures even fermentation. The bacterial and fungal cultures found in the fermenting piles were found to vary widely from factory to factory throughout Yunnan, consisting of multiple strains of Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp., yeasts, and a wide range of other microflora. Control over the multiple variables in the ripening process, particularly humidity and the growth of Aspergillus spp., is key in producing ripened Pu'er of high quality. Poor control in fermentation/oxidation process can result in bad ripened Pu'er, characterised by badly decomposed leaves and an aroma and texture reminiscent of compost. The ripening process typically takes anywhere from half a year to one year after it has begun. As such, a ripened Pu'er produced in early 2004 will be pressed in the winter of 2004/2005, and appear on the market between late 2005 and early 2006.

This process was first developed in 1972 by Menghai Tea Factory and Kunming Tea Factory to imitate the flavour and color of aged raw Pu'er, and was an adaptation of wet storage techniques being used by merchants to falsify the age of their teas. Mass production of ripened Pu'er began in 1975. It can be consumed without further ageing, though it can also be stored to "air out" some of the less savoury flavours and aromas acquired during fermentation. The tea is often compressed, but is also common in loose form. Some tea collectors believe "ripened" Sheng Cha should not be aged for more than a decade. [3]

[1] Wikipedia
[2] Tea Mania
[3] Teapedia.org
[4] Tea Database
[5] Tea Mania - Tea mountains of China
[6] PuerPuer.com https://purepuer.com/puer_tea/do/page/health
[7] Syu, KY., Lin, CL., Huang, HC., & Lin, JK. (2008). Determination of Theanine, GABA, and Other Amino Acids in Green, Oolong, Black, and Pu'er Teas with Dabsylation and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56(17), 7637–7643.
[8] Zhao ZJ, Pan YZ, Liu QJ, Li XH (2013) Exposure Assessment of Lovastatin in Pu'er Tea. International Journal of Food Microbiology 164. 26-31. Elsevier.
[9] Chiang CT, Weng MS, Lin SA, Kui KI, Tsai YJ, Lin JK. (2006) Pu'er tea supplementation suppresses fatty acid synthase expression in the rat liver through down regulating Akt and JNK signalings as demonstrated in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. Oncology Research 16, 119-128
[10] Kuo KL, Weng MS, Chiang CT, Tsai YJ, Lim-Shiau SY, Lin JK. (2005) Comparative studies on the hypolipidemic and growth suppressive effects of oolong, black, Pu'er and green tea leaves in rats. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 53, 480-489
[11] Dong F, He PM, Lin Z. (2007) Review on antioxidant activity of Pu'er tea. Food Science 28, 363-365 (in Chinese)
Zhang DY, Shao WF, Liu Zh, Liu YL, Huang YW. (2009) Research on the antidiabetes and antihyperlipidemia function of monomers in Pu'er tea in Yunnan. Journal of the Tea Science 29, 41-46 (in Chinese)
[12]Du, L., Li, J., Li, W., Li, Y., Li, T., & Xiao, D. (2014). Characterization of volatile compounds of Pu'er tea using solid-phase microextraction and simultaneous distillation–extraction coupled with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Food Research International, 57, 61–70.
[13]Lv, H.-P., Zhu, Y., Tan, J.-F., Guo, L., Dai, W.-D., & Lin, Z. (2015). Bioactive compounds from Pu'er tea with therapy for hyperlipidaemia. Journal of Functional Foods, 19, 194–203.
[14]Zhang, H., Wang, C., Shen, S., Wang, G., Liu, P., Liu, Z., … Deng, Z. (2012). Antioxidant Phenolic Compounds from Pu'er Tea. Molecules, 17(12), 14037–14045.
[15]Zhou, Z.-H., Zhang, Y.-J., Xu, M., & Yang, C.-R. (2005). Puerins A and B, Two New 8-C Substituted Flavan-3-ols from Pu-er Tea. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 53(22), 8614–8617.

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