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Cha-tou, the Manufacturers’ favorite pu-erh ripe tea

[2013.04.14] Posted By

cha-tou of pu-erh ripe tea

The cha-tou is one kind of pu-erh ripe tea produced during the tea making process. The manufacturer often emphasizes that it is the most delicious and precious pu-erh ripe tea. The size and shape of cha-tou is irregular, and it is naturally formed.

Cha-tou is naturally formed during fermentation

The fermentation of pu-erh ripe tea consists of two steps: the first step involves bacterial fermentation, and the second step involves yeast and mold fermentation. After the first step of bacterial fermentation, tea leaves are piled into 10-20cm of thickness for natural drying. Simultaneously, tea leaves undergo post fermentation by yeast and mold. During this process, tea leaves sometimes stuck each other and form a lump. This is the tea called cha-tou. Once cha-tou is formed, the moisture is trapped inside the lump. It will then undergo further maturation and form the flavor like Chinese dates.

The cha-tou of pu-erh ripe tea

There are a number of cha-tou appears on the surface during yeast and mold fermentation

Cha-tou of pu-erh ripe tea

Cha-tou and normal loose leaf

Cha-tou is popular and limited

After meeting many manufacturers of ripe pu-erh tea, I realized that they appreciate the cha-tou the most. It gives very unique flavour, like dried fruit. Usually, the selling price of cha-tou is the highest among the various grades of ripe pu-erh tea yet the demand is more than the supply as the quantity of cha-tou from each batch of fermentation is very limited. Usually the stock is not available, unless the advance booking is made one year ahead.
After all, I am very lucky to find the cha-tou made of the tea leaf that is grown with natural farming method. It gives very strong after taste, full body, and its flavour reminds me of dried dates. I am planning to compress cha-tou into 250g brick. It will be available in next month.

cha-tou and normal ripe tea

The lump on the finger is the cha-tou and the rest is the normal leaf

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