This is part one of two. This first one is a plain and simple pictorial of how I brew up pu-erh quick and dirty. Part two (a later date) will walk through the entire Gong Fu ceremony, with all the goodies/accessories - which is fancy/impressive, but time consuming and requires more clean up.
Step 1 - Grab the bare essentials.... a pick (to loosen the tea from the brick, bing, etc) a yixing teapot (between 80ml - 100ml) a cup with a 60-80ml capacity, a water boiler, and of course - pu'erh tea.
Step 2 - Prepare the tea. This tea in particular is a new brick of 2008 Bulang Arbor Tree Pu-erh, which is a lovely sweet green.
Use the tea pick to pick/pry the pressed tea into flakes, making sure to try to keep the leaves as intact as possible.
Amass enough to fill up the little yixing about 25-30% full.
Step 3 - Put the tea into the Yixing.
Step 4 - Add boiling water and wait 5-6 seconds - then promptly pour out the first steeping. (I pour it into my cup to warm the cup - then pour it out) This will do quite a few things, heat up the yixing, separate the tea leaves and allow it to leech more flavor, mellow the brew, etc.
Step 5 - Repeat step 4, however this time pour the contents into your cup for consumption. Depending on the tea - you'll use different steep times, however with this one in particular I do 5 seconds or so for the first steeping, then 10 seconds, then 15 - and ramp up the times accordingly. A good pu-erh will take at least 6-8 steepings, where as some can take dozens! Note: while the steeping time is short, keep in mind the tea to water ratio is MUCH higher than you're accustomed to, and pu-erh is particularly potent.
Step 6 - Examine the color/liquor - smell the brew, note these characteristics as they will help you in the future to determine correct steeping times based on particular teas and your personal preferences. Enjoy the mesmerizing liquor, and contemplate the joys of life.... repeat as desired.
Step 7 - Remove the leaves from the yixing and enjoy their fragrance, examine their color, quality, leaf size, etc. The used tea leaves make wonderful fertilizer for your garden - so don't feel the need to merely pitch them.
There you have it... enjoying a pu-erh isn't as easy as using a teabag, but it's far from complicated, and the reward is simply intoxicating. Few things are more relaxing than enjoying a lovely tea in a peaceful setting.
Note: an effective yixing will be small... REALLY small. Keep in mind - anything over about 3.5 ounces is going to be too large. To put this in perspective, here is the yixing I used next to a box of tic tacs.
Enjoy - and by all means if you have any questions, tips, tricks or advice, feel free to chime in. We have quite a few experts here on the forum!