Puer tea traditionally comes in round disk-shaped cakes, rectangular bricks, and small melon-shaped cakes called tuo cha. They also come in small single-serve balls or mini tuo cha. Many loose-leaf puer teas are now available as well.
How to break apart compressed Puer Tea Cakes
Loosen and gently break off about 5 grams of tea from the brick with a puer needle or letter opener. Try to split the flattened layers of tea leaves apart and avoid breaking the whole leaves. See the video tutorial below for more tips.
Brewing Puer Tea
Once the leaves have been broken from the cake, you can brew puer tea like any other loose-leaf tea. They may take a little longer to infuse at first as the compressed leaves plump up again in the hot water.
You can typically re-use the leaves of sheng and shu puer teas more times than other types of tea. However, small-leaf shu puers (Palace Puer, Ma Guo Tou) infuse more quickly than large-leaf shu puers (Home Store Puer, Jujube).
How to store loose-leaf puer and puer cakes
Store puer tea in a dark, well-ventilated area with less than 70% humidity at temperatures below 25°C (77°F). You may store your white, shu, and sheng puer in separate boxes in a cabinet if you don’t have a designated storage area.
Make sure to keep your puer cakes wrapped in the paper or fabric that it comes in. Using plastic wrappers or bags to store puer isn’t ideal, and the tea will absorb odors from the plastic easily. Like any tea, make sure to keep your tea away from odors and fragrances, like spices and herbs, blended or scented teas.