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Mengku Shou (fermented) Pu-erh Mini Tuo Cha

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Shou (fermented) Pu-erh

 

Mengku Shou Pu-erh Mini Tuo Cha

 

12-mini tuo chas to a package

 

Appearance: perfectly formed mini tuo cha ( bird’s nests!), dark leaf with some light leaf
Flavor: made from 3rd grade leaf, creamy, sweet and very delicious
Aroma: clean, woodsy, appealing, rich fermented aroma
Liquor: very dark brown/burgundy in the cup

 

Mengku Tea Harvesting Area
Yongde County, Lincang Prefecture
Yunnan Province, China

2011 Spring Pluck
(5-years aged)

Note on Steeping Pu-erh:

 

Pu-erh is traditionally ‘rinsed’ before being steeped.
This is done with a quick application of hot water that is poured over the tea in the gaiwan or teapot and then immediately discarded. The rinse water is not drunk – its purpose is to help the leaves begin to open during steeping.
Use  additional appropriately-heated water for the 1st steeping and subsequent re-steepings.

 

Western-style steeping:

 

Un-wrap one tuo cha and drop it into a 12-16 ounce teapot
Use water that is 200°F-210°F
Rinse the tuo cha in your teapot with a quick application of hot water just to cover it
Immediately discard this liquid
Add additional 12-16 ounces of hot water to start the 1st steeping
Steep for 3-4 minutes
Re-steep this leaf 1-2 additional times

 

Asian-style steeping:

 

Un-wrap one tuo cha and drop it into small teapot under 10 ounces or a gaiwan
Use water that is 200°F-210°F
Rinse the tuo cha in your teapot with a quick application of hot water just to cover it
Immediately discard this liquid
Add additional 6-8 ounces of hot water to start the 1st steeping
Steep for 25 seconds
Increase the steeping time an additional 5-to-10 seconds with each re-steep
Re-steep this leaf 4-6 times (or more!)

 

Unlike most other tea, Pu-erh is made from mao cha and not directly from fresh leaf.

 

So what is mao cha? Mao cha is a simple ‘rough’ manufacture of leaf materials that consists of:

 

plucking
withering (indoors and or outdoors)
firing
rolling & shaping
sun-drying

 

Mao cha is considered both finished tea and half-made tea. It is essentially young sheng Pu-erh and is drunk by villagers in Yunnan as well as being the leaf that all forms of Pu-erh are made from. Mao cha is simple to manufacture but is complex in its diversity. Mao cha can be made from the fresh leaf of one tea garden or be a blend of leaf from an entire tea village or from several tea producing villages within one county.

 

Mao cha can be stored and aged after it is made, or it can be a new blend that is comprised of aged mao cha from different years. It is found in a variety of leaf sizes, too, depending on the location of the tea trees and on the type of local cultivars (size of the leaf)  the mao cha was made from. Mao cha is a great example of the effects of terroir.

 

As you can see, the possibilities and resulting flavors of mao cha are almost endless. All of these variables  result in a staggering choice of mao cha for Pu-erh producers to work with.

While most mini tuo chas are made from finely chopped low grade leaf and are astringent and unpleasant in the cup, these tuos are made from Mengku tea harvesting area 3rd grade leaf, and are creamy, sweet and very delicious. They are clean and bright in flavor, and really deliver a full and rich taste – the proof is in the cup.

The aging and storage of these mini tuos has dissipated any excess wo dui taste and aroma, leaving this tea with a nice woodsy, earthy taste. These are the nicest tuo chas we have ever had – and we have recently been able to secure another batch of these from the same aged vintage.

Keep a few of these in your pocket to share with an interesting stranger that you meet.

Note:
Shou Pu-erh is also known as ‘cooked’ or ‘ripe’ Pu-erh, a reference to the wo dui fermentation process that the leaf undergoes in the tea factory.

 

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