Raw Pu-erh vs. Green Tea: 5 Key Differences You Must Know

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Young raw pu-erh tea (or sheng pu'er) that is aged less than three years is often described as having a similar taste profile to green tea. Some of the teas in Mansa Tea’s Raw Pu’er collection, for example, can resemble green tea at first taste, but is raw pu-erh green tea?

This is a tricky question as raw pu-erh is processed as "green tea" in the beginning. But there are many other differences between the two brews.

Loose leaf of young raw pu-erh

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Raw Pu-erh vs. Green Tea: 5 Key Differences

The primary differences between the two types of tea are

  • Harvest Location
  • Processing Methods
  • Flavor Profile
  • Brewing Methods
  • Best Time to Drink

Mansa Handcrafted Aged Tea | Our tea leaves are handpicked by farmers

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1. Harvest Location

All teas come from the same plant, camellia sinensis, but the most prized pu-erh are hand plucked from wild trees in Yunnan that are more than a century old. These tea trees are of large leaf type, the size of which is also apparent in the loose leaf and tea cake forms. In contrast, famous green teas are grown in different regions of China and Japan (i.e. Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Uji). At Mansa, we focus on handpicked pu-erh tea from the ancient tea mountains in Yunnan.

Mansa Handcrafted Aged Tea | Raw Pu'er is hand processed vs. many other green teas.

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2. Processing Methods

Both raw pu-erh and green tea follow a similar processing method. After the leaves are harvested, they wither, then they are pan-fried or steamed and rolled. Only the last step varies: most green teas are dried with hot air whereas pu-erh is dried in the sunshine. The sunshine affects the taste and the aging profile of raw pu-erh. Raw pu-erh is also typically compressed into a tea cake form after it is dried. The end-to-end process of making pu-erh is much more laborious than many commercialized teas.

smoky bulang pu-erh tea

Try a popular raw pu-erh

3. Flavor Profile

Flavor profile of pu-erh changes over time as it ages. For example, young raw pu-erh can have a slightly bitter taste, which eases as it ages. Pu-erh teas can also have earthy or green vegetal flavors. Green teas can be described as bittersweet, floral, oceany and more depending on where it was grown and processed. Mansa's aged teas are ready to be enjoyed without further aging. For example, our Raw Pu’er collection includes young raw pu-erh teas that do not have much bitterness to them and can be brewed as is. 

How to brew using a gaiwan

Learn how to brew in gongfu style

4. Brewing Methods

Pu-erh is best enjoyed using boiling temperature water and gong fu brewing style to enjoy the flavors over multiple brews. Gongfu brewing requires higher tea leaves to water ratio and allows tea  drinkers to enjoy the change in flavor over multiple brews. On the other hand, green tea is best brewed using a serving pitcher without a lid and lower temperature water (140-190 degrees depending on the variety) to avoid burning the leaves.

pu-erh teas are aged in a temperature and humidity controlled environment

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5. Best Time to Drink

Green tea should be sipped as fresh as possible since the flavors can disappear over time. Raw pu-erh, however, can be aged without having its flavors disappear. In fact, aging often allows a deeper flavor profile to develop making no two cups the same. Note that pu-erh should be aged in a carefully controlled environment to ensure its optimal flavors unfold over time. 

yiwu 18: nutty green tea

Try Wild Lao Raw Pu'er

Where to Buy Pu-erh Tea

For fans of green tea, raw pu-erh can be an exciting arena to explore. At Mansa Tea, we have a collection of rare and high-quality handcrafted pu-er teas. The Wild Lao Raw Pu’er is a great tea for green tea lovers to try. It resembles a green tea, but it has a nuttier taste with a light floral scent.

Mansa Tea is a handcrafted aged tea company that specializes in aged teas, tea experiences, and education for modern connoisseurs. We aim to elevate tea experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels so that tea enthusiasts can taste aged tea at its peak as part of their fine dining experience. 

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