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Mountains, Clouds, Tea

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Making pu-erh tea involves several steps, and the process can vary depending on whether you're working with raw (sheng) or ripe (shou) pu-erh.

Here's a basic guide on how to make pu-erh tea:

Ingredients and Tools:

  • Pu-erh tea leaves (raw or ripe)

  • Water

  • Teapot or gaiwan (a Chinese lidded bowl used for brewing tea)

  • Tea tray or a suitable area for rinsing and discarding water

  • Optional: Tea pick or knife (for breaking apart compressed tea cakes)

Brewing instructions for Pu-ehr tea, Pu-erh tea leaves (raw or ripe)  Water  Teapot or gaiwan (a Chinese lidded bowl used for brewing tea)  Tea tray or a suitable area for rinsing and discarding water  Optional: Tea pick or knife (for breaking apart compressed tea cakes)
How to make amazing Pu-ehr tea?


  • Preheat the Teapot or Gaiwan:

  • Pour hot water into the teapot or gaiwan to preheat it. Swirl the water around and then discard it.

  • Add Pu-erh Tea Leaves:

  • Depending on your preference and the size of your teapot, add an appropriate amount of pu-erh tea leaves. A general guideline is about 1-2 teaspoons of leaves per 8 ounces (240 ml) of water.

  • Rinse the Tea Leaves (Optional):

  • Pour hot water over the tea leaves, allowing them to steep for about 5-10 seconds. Quickly discard this water. Rinsing helps awaken the tea leaves and removes any impurities or dust.

  • First Infusion:

  • Pour hot water over the rinsed tea leaves and let it steep for about 10-30 seconds for the first infusion. The steeping time can vary based on your taste preferences and the type of pu-erh you have.

  • Subsequent Infusions:

  • Pu-erh tea is often brewed multiple times, with each infusion revealing different flavors. Adjust the steeping time for each subsequent infusion based on your taste preferences.

  • Enjoy:

  • Pour the brewed tea into cups and savor the unique flavors of pu-erh. You can enjoy it plain or with added sweeteners or milk, although many people prefer pu-erh in its pure form.


  • If you're using compressed pu-erh (such as a cake or brick), you may need to break apart the leaves before brewing. A tea pick or knife can be useful for this.

  • Experiment with water temperature and steeping times to find the flavor profile that suits your taste.

  • Some pu-erh enthusiasts appreciate the earthy and complex flavors that develop with aging, so you might consider storing your pu-erh in a controlled environment for aging.

Remember that these steps are general guidelines, and the specifics may vary based on the type of pu-erh tea you have and your personal preferences. Adjustments to brewing times and quantities can lead to a more customized and enjoyable tea experience.

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The essential element in Tea culture-business is connections. This extends beyond the simple factor of knowing the right people with the good stuff -- though this factor can't be discounted. It extends well beyond this to connection with Nature, with Self and with something perhaps best described as the supra-reality.

The internet connects, as do tea fairs and tea parties. However, these can function a bit like the search for water in the desert without either map or guide.

The simple finding of tea is easy. Tea is available in grocery stores for a few dollars for a fifty pack. Spending large sums of Fiat on tea cakes offers no greater insurance of quality — that you will drink from the silent spring of evolved consciousness. This being the unifying quality in all truly fine tea. 

The first step in finding such teas, is a reordering of the mind -- and to an extent the body -- a reordering of the spirit and consciousness. What is necessary is the wholesale re-branding of the fundamental ideas which one has surrounding tea. The greatest barrier to entering the inner circles of high-tea experience is first knowing that it exists in the first place. The second is the bravery to seek it out, no matter where this journey may take us.

Tea, pu-ehr tea, best tea, high quality teas, tea business, art of tea
Best Teas Await you

The finest teas -- for you the tea drinker -- may be nestled in some valley in the Himalaya, like the mythical Shambala. Alternately they may be just around the corner from where you are right now, or sitting quietly with your neighbours across the hall.

The notion that tea is the exclusive domain of the spiritual-smorgesborgist, the medi-tourist, the guru or even the spiritual empath, is absurd.

This fact is conferred first hand countless times in the words of a thousand scrolls, along a path stretching out thousands of years — recorded in old bones that cannot be deciphered. This path ultimately leads to you, here and now, for there was never any a time other. To experience great tea fully, is to be suspended eternally in this moment, and to scribe your own name in the guestbook of the immortals.

Tea is consumed by all walks of life and by all manner of people. The saintly and the roguish alike. I often use the example of the Samurai who would meditate, drink tea and write poems -- before going about the business of cutting off heads. 

While the path of the warrior may appeal you. All too often it is those without qualification, initiation or introduction, in this Cha-Dao, who will suggest that the deepest insights of tea are available only to those who renounce this world. These heights of experience are available to both the monk who sweeps the temple floor, and also the hero’s who join the goddess in ecstatic union. Having wandered both paths I see them of equal value.

Reverence for the leaf Camelia is essential — though that reverence comes in as many forms as cloud forms, fingerprints and snow-scapes.

To steal a line from Goethe -- be bold and great forces (of Tea) will come to your aid.

Be bold. Be fearless. In this Way, you will no longer have to (truly) search for tea, as it will be searching for you.

Erick Smithe 

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It comes as a natural impulse of many tea drinkers to reject labels, and to place value on experience -- unaffected by words. Many of us resist, or outright avoid, being told what to expect from a given tea, before we have the chance to feel it out for ourselves. It is for this same reason, that among many tea friends, the phrase "I'll give you my tasting notes" is tantamount to go fly a kite

Some people need to hear about the origins of a tea, its current market value, its provenance -- including the name of the person who picked it. However, all of this and more can be realized by being fully present in the ritual of tea — in each moment. It is a level of attentiveness which does not necessarily demand silence, though this can be helpful as we are learning to adjust the microscope of the heart-mind.

fine tea, best tea in the world, pu-ehr tea, tea experts, tea expertise
'when you are looking for fine tea, fine tea is also looking for you'

Many have to hear all of the bio-data about a product before they can submit to the enjoyment of it. The mind, trickster that it is often makes fools of such tea aficionados. For while they may be well developed economically or socially, the quality of inner-civilization and supreme self reliance (confidence) is in short supply.

The statement of my teacher, Master He, that 'when you are looking for fine tea, fine tea is also looking for you' is most valid. Many a wealthy collector is drinking fugazi tea, having been told it is old and rare. This is a little inside joke of the tea industry expert. It is unfortunate, but ultimately the by product of arrogance, a quality which the tea itself retreats from quietly -- or more accurately is but a specter at such banquets.

To taste tea -- from a trusted source -- not knowing at first its age, price or pedigree, and to respond to it honestly and naturally, based upon inner experience. This is the beginning of the practice of tea as a way (of life).

Erick Smithe

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