You may be wondering what the difference is between Sheng Pu-erh and Shu Pu-erh. Both are types of Pu-erh tea, but they come from different processing methods. Sheng Pu-erh is made from leaves that have been naturally fermented, while Shu Pu-erh is made from leaves that have been processed by artificial fermentation. Which one is better? That depends on your preferences!
Process of Making Sheng Pu-erh tea
For Sheng Pu-erh, are plucked in the spring, then air-dried to reduce their moisture content. They are then piled and left to ferment. The pile is turned every few days until the leaves have completely fermented into a cake that can be pressed into various shapes. It takes about one year to make a Sheng Pu-erh cake.
Process of Making Shu Pu-erh Tea
Shu Pu-erh is a more modern type of Pu-erh that uses a process developed in the early 1970s, which speeds up the fermentation process to about 45 days. The leaves are withered under the sun for 20 hours to remove moisture and then air-dried. They are placed in a pile to ferment for 20–30 days. This process is repeated 7–8 times until the tea reaches its final moisture content. Because artificial fermentation occurs much more quickly than natural, the leaves retain more of their original color when they are dried. The resulting product is also much darker than that of Sheng Pu-erh. After this process, the leaves are pressed into various shapes.
So why do people prefer Sheng Pu-erh or Shu Pu-erh?
Sheng Pu-erh is mellower and less bitter than Shu Pu-erh, but it has a shorter shelf life of about 20 years; Shu Pu-erh is more bitter but has a longer shelf life of about 40 years.
Sheng Pu-erh is said to be the best choice for beginners because it isn’t too bitter and tastes like “real tea”; Shu Pu-erh is preferred by connoisseurs who enjoy the stronger taste and deeper flavor.
What are the health benefits of Sheng Pu-erh versus Shu Pu-erh?
Sheng Pu-erh is said to be good for your health because its fermentation process allows it to retain more proteins, lipids, and saponins than other green teas. It also contains much higher levels of catechins, which are said to have anticarcinogenic properties. Shu Pu-erh is also rich in catechins but does not undergo as much fermentation as Sheng Pu-erh, so it has fewer health benefits.
Sheng Pu-erh is more expensive than other types of tea because of its limited production and long aging period, while Shu Pu-erh is cheaper because it is made by artificial fermentation. Both are said to help with weight loss, but Sheng Pu-erh has a more noticeable effect.
What’s your favorite type of Pu-erh tea? Do you prefer Sheng or Shu? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know! We would love to hear what you think.