How to brew Pu'er tea?

How to brew Pu'er cakes using gaiwan

A Gaiwan or Gong Fu style steeping can be an amazing way to explore the flavor of Pu'er tea. Brewing a Pu'er cake in a gaiwan over multiple steepings allows you to experience the flavor at different stages in the extraction process. Starting with a light flavor and cup color, then developing into a dark and rich experience, watch how the tea evolves and until it reaches its full extraction. To brew the raw or ripe Pu-erh Cakes / Bricks, follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Pry Pu'er tea cake or brick using Pu'er knife

Put the cake on the tray/or a flat surface, let the tea cake back up, use one hand press and hold the center of the cake, look for the space between the tea leaves to insert the knife to avoid crashing the tea leaves, insert the Pu-er knife into the edge of the cake, gently turn the knife lightly up and down, remove the knife and find the other space repeat until the tea loosens and falls off. This will usually break a chunk of tea from the cake. You can remove the loose chunk from the tea cake and break the chunk easily by hand now.

Step 2: Measure loose leaf tea to steep

The weight of the Pu'er leaf depends on the size of your gaiwan. For every 120ML-150ML (~4-5 ounces), we can use 7 grams of tea.

Step 3: Clean the gaiwan with hot water (212℉)

Clean the gaiwan with hot water (212℉/100°C), discard the water in gaiwan after cleaning. 

Step 4: Drop Pu'er tea into gaiwan

Step 5: Wake tea leaf

Close lid and shake gaiwan up and down slowly for 5 times. This will help to awake the tea leaf. Feel free to smell the lid and enjoy the aroma after this. 

Step 6: Rinse Pu'er tea

Fill the gaiwan with hot water, allowing the leaves to sit for no more than 5 seconds, then discard the water. This removes unwanted smaller leaf particles and facilitates further extraction in later steeps. 

Step 7: Pouring hot water over the edge of gaiwan

Once again, fill the gaiwan with 212℉ water, pouring over the edge of gaiwan. Wait approximately 10 seconds.

Step 8: Pour the tea into the tea pitcher. 

Pour the tea into the tea pitcherThis can ensure that each individual is experiencing the same flavor in each pour.

Step 9: Using the tea pitcher to pour tea into teacups

Step 10: Enjoy your Pu'er tea


Continue steeps as many times as you like (Usually Pu'er tea can last for 10+ steeps), adding 5-10 seconds to each. As time passes, look to see the evolution of the leaf and the deepening of the liquor color.  Most importantly pay attention to the changing flavor with each steep.  Once the strength of the tea no longer comes through, the leaves have been fully extracted.

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