I’m going to start this post with a little word salad: You Le Huang Ye Sheng Puer. What is that? What does it mean? Can I drink it? All important questions that we’ll address in this post. In short, You Le Huang Ye is one of the newest teas on the menu, and, interestingly, one of our oldest as well.
You Le Huang Ye is the name of the tea, which is in the Puer category. If that term – Puer, or Puerh – isn’t immediately familiar to you, that’s okay. Think of it as just another tea type, like Green, Oolong or Black tea. In the simplest terms, Puer is a tea that goes through a fermentation and oxidation phase, which brings about interesting qualities in the cup and allows for prolonged storage and enjoyment of the tea.
We have two terrific examples of Puer tea in the shop right now. You Le Huang Ye is a beautiful Puer that was created in 2014 and has been aging for a couple years. The other Puer on our menu – Yun Wu – was created in 2007. Both of these are Sheng Puer, which is one of two types of Puer, along with Shu Puer.
There are two ways to produce puer: Sheng puer (like You Le Huang Ye) and Shu puer. In either style, the tea begins its life as Puer Mao Cha, which is the raw material used in either Sheng or Shu puer. Puer Mao Cha is made by pan-firing the harvested leaves of the Da Ye Zhong variety, also known as large leaf type. It then follows the processing steps to become Sheng or Shu Puer.
In Sheng Puer, the tea is allowed to naturally ferment and oxidize over time. In Shu Puer, the tea is pile-fermented, a process in which leaves are placed into piles, moisture is added and the pile is occasionally turned for a duration of up to several weeks. In this way Shu mimics the slow maturation of Sheng Puer.
Puer teas are often found pressed into various shapes for storage. Our You Le Huang Ye is pressed as a Bing Cha, in which the leaves are pressed into a flat disk shape. This tea was plucked, blended and pressed by the Feng Wei Yu Gong Tea Factory located in Lincang in Yunnan Province, China. And it comes to us via our tea partners at Jojo Tea in Miami, Florida. The tea was pressed on April 6, 2014, and is relatively young in terms of its potential shelf life. It’s flavor may be enhanced over time, but it is also enjoyed in its current state.
In the cup, You Le Huang Ye has notes of toasted almonds, fig jam, rose petal and tobacco. The profile softens and sweetens with subsequent steeps, and we’ll gladly steep this tea for you in-house up to six times, making You Le Huang Ye one of the best values on our menu. We’re proud to share this tea with you, and to have an opportunity to explore the vast and wonderful world of tea together. Cheers!