Good morning, dear tea friends! On this crisp, early December morning, there’s not a cloud in the clear blue sky, and I’m enjoying a Pu-Erh tea in my cup. This particular selection, called Pu-Erh Tuo Cha Std., has been compressed into little birds’ nests shapes, called tuo cha. As you can see, each tuo cha is neatly wrapped in paper.
Each tuo cha will make 2 cups of tea so I had to break them up a bit to measure for my 3-cup glass teapot. I used one full tuo cha and one half tuo cha. I steeped for 6 minutes in 212F water.
Traditionally, Pu-erh teas are created from leaves harvested in the ancient tea forests of Yunnan province in China. There are two different kinds of Pu-erh tea, raw (Sheng) and cooked (Shou). This Pu-Erh is of the cooked (Shou) variety.
Cooked Pu-Erh goes through a “composting” step during its processing. The leaves are piled into heaps, much like a compost pile, creating a heat in its core and transforming the leaves into this unique tea. Compressed forms of tea have been produced in China for hundreds of years. It was the most common form transported on the ancient caravan routes because it was less susceptible to physical damage and easier to transport.
The tea liquor is a dark, opaque brown, with a sweet, earthy aroma. The flavor is velvety smooth, with notes of earth, autumn leaves and a dark sweetness, like molasses or dark brown sugar. As the tea cools, it gets even sweeter.
To conserve on heat, I keep my house pretty cool. I rely on my tea to warm me up and this tea did a great job of that. I’m going to the movies with my grandkids today, always a special treat to spend time with them! When I return home, I’ll put on some holiday jazz music and finish decorating the tree. I love this festive time of year. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your tea!
Heaven or Hell, love or hate
No matter where I turn
I meet myself.
Holding life is precious is
Just living with all intensity
Holding life precious.
~Kosho Uchiyama Roshi