Ripened (shou) pu-erh is the product of Mao Cha (harvested unprocessed green tea leaves) being put through a speed fermentation process called O-dui (渥堆) to achieve its ‘ripened’ state. The process involves sprinkling water over piled up tea leaves (with other conditions applied) to facilitate the fermentation. During the O-dui, the centre of the pile temperature raises up to 60-65 degrees. The leaves need to be turned over regularly to avoid overheating and ‘burning’. During this turning over, the leaves with the highest level of plant glue (produced naturally when the tea leaves are heated) gravitate towards each other to form these tea ‘lumps’. These lumps are normally broken up by tea processers when possible. The ‘in-breakable’ ones are collected and sold as Lao Cha Tou (老茶头).
In comparison to normal loose leaf teas, Lao Cha Tou are richer in inner contend. This results in stronger and gently sweet flavour and thicker in tea brew. The texture of these teas is smooth and can be consumed immediately after their production.
Ripened (Shou 熟)
Due to it unique nature, Pu-erh teas' preparation is different from other categories of Chinese teas. For preparation of ripened loose Pu-erh tea, please go to our preparation instruction page at: Pu-erh tea preparation and storage guide
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