This is a rare ripe pu-erh tea: 2017 Bao Dao Shan Ripe Pu-erh Tea, the Cha Tou Brick.
Tea was produced not long ago and not aged for a long time, yet it already gives a smooth and rich drinking sensation with a herbal-like note and a woodsy flavor like camphor or caramel, with a comfortable incense undertone, deep aftertaste, with a clean taste and no mustiness. Based on my experience, this tea will become even better if you manage to keep it longer.
Naturally formed lump by Actinomycetes
Cha Tou is very rare even in China domestic tea market. Cha Tou is the lump of ripe pu-erh tea which is naturally formed during the microbiological fermentation. The tea lumps only formed if spring tea is processed into the ripe pu-erh tea. If summer or autumn tea, due to tea leaf lacks moisture and contains less tea constituents, the chances of getting Cha Tou from summer and autumn tea are low. The ripe pu-erh tea made from spring tea leaves is very rare, so Cha Tou is very precious and often sought after among tea connoisseurs.
When the fermentation of ripe pu-erh tea is well carried out, the tea lump was naturally composed because of the poly saccharide produced by the Actinomycetes. During the formation of Cha Tou, tea leaf is trapped inside the lump that contains no oxygen. In addition, the fermentation of Actinomycetes increases the temperature up to about 70-degree C. Those tea leaves trapped inside Cha Tou will undergo very fast maturation process, and produces very unique and sweet flavor.
Cha Tou made out of Bao Dao Shan Ripe Pu-erh Tea
Bao Dao Shan is the famous mountain in Feng Wei, Zhenkang county（ 鎮康県鳳尾). It is the mountain located very close to the Myanmar border.
In Bao Dao Shan, we found some tea gardens practicing natural farming style. They use no fertilizer and not to mention pesticide. Our aim is to achieve the clarity in taste. Tea from the natural farming gardens gives a clear and transparent drinking sensation. We have selected tea garden that is completely left unattended and it turns into a wild.
Bao Dao Shan Cha Tou is formed during the production of Bao Dao Shan Ripe Pu-erh Tea. Bao Dao Shan Ripe Pu-erh Tea is one of the most popular ripe pu-erh tea in HOJO’s line-ups.
Bao Dao Shan is made of tea which quality is equivalent to the fine raw pu-erh that we are usually introducing in our lineup. This tea is the single origin tea. It is made of only the first spring-plucked tea and not blended with any other tea collected from summer or autumn.
In making ripe pu-erh tea, it is very rare that high quality raw pu-erh tea is chosen as the raw material. The main reason is that the cost of high quality raw pu-erh is much higher yet customers already perceived the ripe pu-erh tea is of low-priced tea. Thus, it is very rare that ripe pu-erh tea is made of high-quality spring tea.
Very well aged Cha Tou produces flavor like brandy
Cha Tou will develop very unique flavor when it is aged. Usually, in my shop, Cha Tou becomes suddenly popular after it is being kept for more than a year or two. Please keep it in a warmer place in your house if you wish to age it well. After open the bag, please zip it back and keep it for about one to two weeks before you start drinking it. We called it “decanting” of tea. Tea will gently oxidize and swiftly develop fruity flavor and richer taste. It is just like decanting wine.
Brewing method of Cha Tou
Cha Tou is tighter compared to normal ripe pu-erh tea. So, to extract the tea taste, it is essential to infuse it longer in hot water.
Firstly, pour the boiling water into the teapot and keep it for 10 seconds to warm up the teapot. After pour off the hot water from the teapot, place 5-10g of tea into the teapot, pour the boiling water and leave it for 10 seconds. Please rinse one more time with boiling water for 10 seconds. For the first infusion, pour the boiling water and leave it for 30 seconds to 1 minute. For the second brewing, repeat the same if you prefer a stronger taste, or you can reduce the brewing time. For subsequent brewing, please infuse for 10 seconds or less (if you prefer a lighter taste). Usually, tea can last up to 6 brewing or more.