According to the processing technique: Raw Tea and Ripe Tea(Processed tea)
Raw Tea refers to the sun-baked green crude tea (loose tea) that is made from the fresh tea leaves of the Yunnan big-leaf trees that are heated, twisted and aired before compressing into different shapes.
It is known as crude tea for its simple processing. It is also called Yunnan raw tea for its place of origin. Pu-erh Raw tea is much stronger in taste and property than other types of tea trees.
Pu-erh Raw Tea from good raw material, naturally fermented under correct temperature and humidity for 5-10 years or even 20-30 years, is best. The strong tea is softened and its taste becomes mellow.
The lovers derive genuine spiritual enjoyment from tasting this tea.
The dry raw tea is dark green in color. The tea liquid is yellowish-green and a little astringent in taste. This may cause a new drinker’s tongue and throat to tighten and some digestive discomfort.
Ripe Tea (Processed Tea)
Raw tea turns into Ripe tea either through natural fermentation over time or pile fermentation (artificial fermentation), which takes much less time. Although both are of similar quality, the demand for the latter is greater. The artificially fermented tea becomes more stable in its property after a little storage and is a good choice for a daily drink.
High-quality dry ripe tea is brownish-red or deep maroon. The tea liquid is clear and dark red. The taste is smooth and mellow with a sweet aftertaste. The ripe tea is mild and most suitable for middle-aged and senior tea drinkers. It is also good for people with digestive problems, high cholesterol or blood pressure.
According to the shape: compressed tea and loose tea
Pu-erh tea is usually compressed into cakes, bowls, bricks, etc.
Tea cakes packaged into piles of seven are called seven-cake tea (Qi zi bing). In olden times, one cake weighed 400g, and forty-two cakes were put into a bamboo basket. The number was determined by the height of horses for transportation and the size of the bamboo baskets. Today, most cakes weigh 357g each and 84 cakes make a basket, There are also 200g, 250g, 500g and 3000g cakes in the market.
Pu-erh tea compressed into the shape of bowls is called bowl tea. There are 100g, 250g, and 500g tea bowls in the market, You may also find smaller ones of 5g or 10g.
Pu-erh tea in the shape of bricks is called brick tea. In addition, you will find heart-,pagoda-, pumpkin- and mushroom-shaped compressed tea. Quality compressed Pu-erh tea is same color as loose tea. It is compacity packed with distinct edges and corners, and has a smooth and even surface.
Pu-erh loose tea
Raw tea and ripe tea are both called loose tea before being compressed. There are many kinds of sun-baked green crude loose tea. Ripe loose tea includes Jinya (golden bud), Gongting (palace) pu-erh tea, and other kinds of loose tea.