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High Mountain Mini Tuo Cha is a ripe Pu-erh tea. It gives a very unique flavor as compared to the rest of pu-erh lineup at HOJO. We noticed even those who usually do not like the particular flavor of Pu-erh tea would find this tea pleasant and easy to enjoy its flavor.
In general, a lot of customer has a perception that Pu-erh tea gives a moldy, earthy smell, and some even commented it smells like antique furniture or stinky feet. First of all, the well-made Pu-erh teas shouldn’t give such an unpleasant smell. The funny smells derived from pollution of wrong type of mold or contamination of bacteria when the fermentation is not being correctly carried out. Especially the odor like smelly feet or dried squid is produced by bacteria. In fact, it is doubtful if these teas are safe for consumption.
We carefully select the tea that was perfectly fermented in a right way. As a result, well-made tea gives a pleasant fruity flavor. Usually good Pu-erh has a flavor like dried fruit.
Hojo’s High Mountain Mini Tuo Cha gives not only a fruity flavor, but also a hint of herbal flavor. The flavor of this tea is often associated with a type of herb called Pandan (from a tropical plant in the screwpine genus). It is a very famous herb in South East Asia, commonly in Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai cuisine. Actually, High Mountain Mini Tuo Cha has nothing to do with this herb. It is just so happened that this tea gives a flavor that is similar to the herbal scent of Pandan leaf. The sweet and herbal flavor of this tea may completely overwrite your stereotype image of Pu-erh tea.
The reason why High Mountain Mini Tuo Cha gives such a unique flavor is that it is produced at very high altitude, up to 2200-2400m above sea level. The particular tea garden is located at the foot of Wu Liang Shan mountainous range. The tea leaf used for this tea is also used for making black tea. It gives a light mouth-feel rather than thick body. The garden practices organic farming, which is examined and certified by European organization.
|Wu Liang Shan无量山||
There are a lot of minority communities situated around the tea garden
As tea garden is located at high altitude, the temperature gap between daytime and nighttime is very huge. In daytime, the temperature can reaches as high as 30 degree C, while at night, temperature drastically drops to 3 degree C. This extreme temperature gap is very ideal for making good quality tea. In daytime, tea leaf absorbs sufficient sunshine, yet the growth of tea tree is restricted at night due to extremely low temperature. As a result, most of the substances contribute to the flavor and taste of tea can be preserved and accumulated inside the tea leaf. The weather condition at high mountain is very essential to compose the unique character of this tea.
|Minority races carry out hand-plucking of tea||
The high altitude creates a very dry and cold environment
Pu-erh tea is compressed into various shapes. Tuo Cha is referring to the shape like mushroom without its stem. In fact, the shape of tea has nothing to do with its quality. We select the tea leaf when it is still in loose leaf condition, and later manufacturer compresses it into the shape that we prefer. The “mini tuo cha” is compressed into 5-6g per piece. Each piece of mini tuo cha is individually wrapped in paper, so it is very handy to carry around; you can even put it in your pocket. Unlike the conventional Pu-erh which normally exist in a much bigger size (like a piece of pizza or cake), you do not have to dismantle tea cake; instead you can directly brew a piece of mini tuo cha in your teapot.
This Pu-erh tea is compressed into a very small size which is just nice for one teapot.
If you are using tap water, it is necessary to filter the water using an activated carbon filter. If not, you wouldn't be able to enjoy the authentic taste of tea. Chlorine is added to tap water in order to sanitize bacteria. This chlorinated water will also harm our body cells. Concerning about our health condition, it is very important to remove chlorine from drinking water. The most effective method in removing chlorine is to install an activated carbon filter. This type of filter is designed for removing organic substance. It will remove not only chlorine, but also other harmful substance such as contaminated pesticide. The activated carbon filter can be easily obtained from the common hardware shop in most countries. If activated carbon filter is not available, please place a charcoal inside the water and leave it for over night. The material composed of activated carbon filter is made of ground charcoal. The difference is that activated carbon filter contains much finer particles and hence it has extremely large surface area for a better efficiency in filtration. We do not suggest RO water (reversed osmosis water) or distilled water. This water carries no mineral, the taste and flavor of tea tends to be very unstable, unless you have very superior quality tea and tea equipment.
It is also advisable not to use fresh tap water. The intensity of after taste becomes stronger if water is kept overnight. Keeping water with stones or inside clay jar will increase the content of minerals. However, you need to confirm whether or not the water kept inside particular jar or with stone is suitable with your tea or tea equipment (such as teapot). If water jar carries certain minerals like copper or zinc, it will rather spoil the taste and flavor of tea. For this, you need to confirm with experiment on try and error basis.
For boiling water, please do not use aluminum or copper kettle. It spoils the taste of water. We suggest using kettle made of iron, stainless steel, tin or glass.
In the long run, you may observe a thick layer of scale accumulated inside your kettle. Our mother usually taught us to wash and remove it with citric acid. But please do not even try to remove the scale. Scale consists of minerals that exist in the water. The mineral composition is reflected from the water you used. If you remove the scale, the mineral ion balance between scale and water is destroyed. This balance is called buffer effect in science. The flavor and taste will seriously run out and you won't be able to get previous taste and flavor for a long time. It is also important to stick to the same type of water whenever brewing tea. If source of water is changed, it carries different type of minerals. It will affect the mineral ion balance too.
Use one piece of Mini Tuo Cha for one teapot.
For brewing High Mountain Mini Tuo Cha, it is recommended to use a purple clay tea pot. It is important to pour boiling water into the teapot and leave it for about 10 seconds. Without this rinsing process, the temperature of boiling water decrease about 20 degree C when it is pour into the teapot.
If #4 and #5 is not carried out, your brewing temperature will be 50-60 degree C. This is too low to extract sufficient flavor and taste.
1st Brewing: 1 minute
2nd Brewing Onwards: Less than a few seconds.
You can brew up to even 8-10 brewing using the same piece of mini tuo cha. From 2nd brewing onwards, it is very important to keep brewing time as short as you can. As tea leaf is wet and hot, definitely it is not necessary to brew more than a few seconds.
Note: Please remove the lid while you are waiting for subsequent brewing. Tea leaf will be over steamed and get oxidized if the lid is not removed.
Traditionally, Pu-erh tea is compressed to remove oxygen from the leaves and kept it intact. It was the wisdom of ancient people to keep tea without oxygen and let it matured very well.
From scientific point of view, oxidation does not only refer to receiving oxygen. The oxidation also takes place when it releases hydrogen and receives electron. Even if tea is kept without oxygen, it will still undergo oxidation.
In 1960's, generally Pu-erh tea was compressed tightly and shaped like a bing (flat and thin round cake). It was called “iron bing”. The tea leaf was compressed extremely tight until it became like a piece of stone; we can hardly pry it even if we use the proper tool that designed for prying the Pu-erh cake. This style of compression succeeded the elimination of oxygen from the tea leaves. If you have ever tried this kind of Pu-erh iron bing, you would know that it was very well-matured. It gives flavour like honey with fruity note and gives no earthy flavour at all. The only problem is that it is so difficult to loosen the leaves from the iron bing and the leaves are often damaged during the process.
On the other hand, nowadays most of Pu-erh cakes are loosely compressed. Some of the Pu-erh cakes can be easily break apart by fingers. Obviously there is oxygen remained in between the leaves. If we keep loosely-compressed Pu-erh in ambient environment, tea will expose to not only oxygen but also moisture and develop unwanted oxidation that usually generates earthy flavour. To achieve the same maturation effect like the iron bing, we encourage customer to keep Pu-erh tea without oxygen. With modern technology, we are able to apply the same theory. Some people in Taiwan intentionally keep high mountain oolong in the vacuum bag for a few years. In the beginning, high mountain oolong is green in colour and it gives a delightful fresh flowery flavour. After a few years of maturation, the leaves turn into yellow colour and it gives the flavour like ripen peach or apricot. This is exactly the same effect as what we are looking for in Pu-erh tea. Based on our experience, well-matured Pu-erh tea gives a very fruity flavour and no earthy or mouldy flavour at all.
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We accept various kinds of credit card through Paypal.
Only if customer prefer other option of payment, we suggest "Bank Transfer".
Various choice of shipping method
EMS, SAL, Small Packet, Small Packet (SAL) Yamato Express and Surface
For shipping tea, we usually suggest small air parcel, the estimated shipping cost of tea in 100g (with wrapping material ) is
USA JPY 600, EU JPY600 and Asia JPY470
Small Packet (SAL)
USA JPY380, EU JPY380 and Asia JPY320
The shipping fee to oversea by small air parcel happens to be even cheaper than domestic shipping fee in Japan.
For your information, some countries, EU in particular imposes custom duty. We need buyer to bare the duty. We are sorry, but we cannot change the amount on the invoice, and we do not mark any packages as gifts. We will strictly follow the custom regulation.
A GIFT FROM THE MOUNTAIN
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