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SHOU PU ER TEAS

To produce Shou Pu er teas, the fermentation process is accelerated by exposing the maocha leaves to high heat and humidity.

FERMENTATION

First the leaves are placed in a room and covered with a little water and a cloth. Next, they are exposed to high heat and humidity for 45 to 65 days. During this stage they will be turned over several times.

SORTING

Once the accelerated fermentation is oven the leaves are sorted by machine then by hand In order to eliminate any unfermented leaves.

COMPRESSION

Next, the same compression process as for Sheng Pu er teas is used. However; few shou Pu er teas are compressed by the traditional method. Hydraulic presses are generally used.

Once all these stages are completed, it is wise to wait at least three months before drinking the teas produced, to allow the fermentation process to stabilize.

AGING PU ER TEAS

The conditions during the aging process can .greatly affect the taste a Pu er tea develops. Ideally, the temperature should be maintained between 68 and 86°F (20to 30°C), although it does not have to be kept constant At temperatures below 68°F(20°C) the aging process would take much longer: The leaves should also be kept at a constant humidity between 60 percent and 70 percent, and in a dark roam, where they will not be exposed to light, that has good air circulation. The leaves should be kept away from any substance that might give off an aroma that they could absorb (such as coffee, spices, etc.). Ideally, Sheng Pu er and Shou Pu er varieties should be kept separate. In Hong Kong, several techniques have been developed with a view to aging Sheng Pu er teas more quickly. One of them, wet storage, involves creating a hot environment between 68 and 95°F (30 to 35°C) with a very high relative humidity (90 percent).These conditions greatly accelerate the aging of the leaves.