A round, flat, 50g disc or puck-shaped tea. Depending on the pressing method, the edge of the disk can be rounded or perpendicular. It is also commonly known as Qīzí bǐngchá (七子餅茶, literally “seven units cake tea”) because seven of the bing are packaged together at a time for sale or transport.
Pu’er traditionally begins as a raw product known as “rough” máochá (毛茶) and can be sold in this form or pressed into a number of shapes and sold as “raw” shēngchá (生茶). Both of these forms then undergo the complex process of gradual fermentation and maturation with time. The wòduī (渥堆) fermentation process developed in 1973 by the Kunming Tea Factory created a new type of pu’er tea. This process involves an accelerated fermentation into “ripe” shúchá (熟茶) which is then stored loose or pressed into various shapes. The fermentation process was adopted at the Menghai Tea Factory shortly after and technically developed there. The legitimacy of shúchá is disputed by some traditionalists in contrast to aged teas. All types of pu’er can be stored to mature before consumption, which is why it is commonly labelled with the year and region of production.