Sings of aged Pu-erh

Pu-erh raw cakes/Bricks

Pu-erh teas post-ferment and their quality improves with age. They are various signs of ageing, in their flavor as well as the visual characters. 

signs of young raw Pu-erh tea:pu erh nei fei 1

  • the leaves are deep green in color with silver fur on the tip leaves
  • the tea cakes are tight and round with neat edge
  • the tea brew has fruity aroma and is relatively astringent  

Signs of aged Pu-erh raw cakes/bricks, often used to validate the age of tea. 

  • tea oil stain on the wrapping paper
  • the silver fur on the tip leaves have turned golden brown 
  • the flavor turns from the initial fruity to a aged flavor of plum and/or earthy camphor
  • the edge of cakes becomes loose and tea leaves start falling off (the weight of the cakes also reduces slightly)
  • insect damage (small round holes) on the wrapping paper

Pu-erh ripened cakes/bricks

Signs of young ripened Pu-erh: an odor of piling, or speed fermenting (渥堆味), gradually diminishing and disappears after 5 years. 

Signs of aged ripened: smooth, sweet and woody, with similar changes in wrapping paper and on the cakes as described above.