“Wake-up tea” refers to a process that enhances the taste and aroma of Pu’er tea. To achieve this, you can’t rely on shouting or any other external stimuli. The process of waking up tea involves carefully handling and storing the tea before brewing it. This technique can help release the full flavor and aroma of the tea, making it taste a hundred times better. In this article, we will discuss the purpose and function of waking up tea, as well as how to wake up Pu’er tea using dry or wet methods.
The purpose and function of wake-up tea
Awakening tea is divided into dry awakening and wet awakening. Dry awakening is a method to unpack the Pu’er tea stored in the warehouse and store it in other ways for 1-3 months to remove foreign impurities and diffuse tea gas. Wet awakening is to make the first tea and discard it without drinking. It increases the temperature of the tea leaves so that the tea leaves can be fully stretched and the tea flavor can be better presented. Some people call the first-course “washing tea”. In fact, it is more appropriate to call it “moistening tea” or “awakening tea”.
Literally, waking up with tea means to “wake up from sleep” the tea. For Shengpu, after a long period of storage, it needs to dissipate its various flavors and “live” the aroma, so that its full flavor can unfold. For Shupu, the ripeness produced by Odui makes people feel unpleasant. In addition, it is packaged for storage, and it will feel a bit “boring” if it is directly brewed as soon as it is opened. Pure dry storage is just an ideal state. The storage of Pu’er is properly dry and wet, and the bottom line is that the tea should not be damp. Dry awakening is changing the storage method of tea leaves before drinking tea. The tea wakes up well, and the taste can be improved to a higher level.
How to wake up Pu’er tea
The following are the steps for dry awakening Pu’er tea:
- Dissolution of tea leaves: Cake tea or other forms of pressed tea need to be unpacked and fully dissolved. Insert a tea knife from the side of the tea cake, shake it up and down, gently pry up the tea leaves, pay attention to the strands of the tea leaves, and try to avoid breaking the tea leaves. Flakes and tea sticks are complete and are the correct way to pry off the tea.
- Ventilation: Put the dissolved Pu’er tea on a dry porcelain plate and put it in a dry and ventilated place. In order to prevent dust or sundries from falling, you can cover the tea with a piece of rice paper for better air permeability. The tea leaves should be isolated from peculiar smells, and should not be exposed to strong light. Put it in this way for 2-3 days, and the dusty smell will basically dissipate. If it is cooked puppies with a strong smell of fat, you can extend the time. In order for tea to “wake up” completely, it is necessary to wake up the tea further.
- Tea can storage: Clay pots or purple sand pots have good air permeability and are very suitable for waking up tea. Excessive waking up of tea will also dissipate the tea fragrance, so you need to control the time. The loose tea pieces that have been ventilated in the air are put into tea cans to further wake up the tea, and they are stored for about 2-3 months, allowing the tea to come into contact with the air slowly. The teapot has good air permeability and slow heat conduction, which can keep the temperature and humidity inside the pot stable.
Tips for Storing and Drinking Wake-Up Tea
After waking up the tea, it is important to store it properly to maintain its flavor. It is best to store the tea in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, strong smells, and moisture. Clay or purple sand tea canisters with good air permeability are ideal for storing Pu’er tea. When storing, pay attention to the sealing of the tea canister, and try to avoid opening it frequently to prevent the aroma from dissipating. If you have a lot of Pu’er tea, you can also store it in a refrigerator, but be sure to wrap it tightly to prevent moisture from getting in.
When brewing wake-up tea, it is important to pay attention to water temperature, time, and tea-to-water ratio. For Pu’er tea, the water temperature should be around 90-95°C, and the brewing time should be around 20-30 seconds for the first infusion, and gradually increasing for the following infusions. The tea-to-water ratio is generally 1:20 for loose tea and 1:15 for compressed tea.
When brewing, rinse the tea leaves with hot water first to wash away any impurities and to awaken the tea. For compressed tea, use a tea knife to pry off the tea leaves, and let them sit for a few minutes to allow them to expand before brewing. When brewing, use a gaiwan or a small teapot and pour the tea into a pitcher or a cup. It is best to drink Pu’er tea without adding any sugar or milk, so as not to mask its natural flavor.
When tasting wake-up tea, pay attention to its aroma, flavor, and aftertaste. Pu’er tea should have a unique earthy and woody aroma, with a sweet and mellow taste, and a long-lasting aftertaste. The taste of Pu’er tea also varies depending on its age, storage, and brewing method. For example, aged raw Pu’er tea has a more complex and rich flavor, while ripe Pu’er tea has a smoother and more mellow taste.
When tasting, it is important to use all of your senses to fully experience the tea. Observe the color and clarity of the tea, smell the aroma, taste the flavor, and feel the texture and aftertaste. As you become more familiar with Pu’er tea, you will be able to distinguish the subtle differences between different teas and appreciate their unique qualities.
Wake-up tea is an important step in enjoying Pu’er tea, and can greatly enhance its aroma and flavor. Whether you prefer dry or wet wake-up, it is important to do it correctly and store the tea properly to maintain its quality. With the right brewing and tasting techniques, you can fully experience the unique and complex flavors of Pu’er tea, and appreciate its rich cultural heritage. So, next time you have a cup of Pu’er tea, remember to wake it up first and savor its natural taste!