Saturday, September 21, 2013
Norbu Tea 2009 Norbu Lao Cha Tou
Leaf Appearance: dark, tightly compressed
Ingredients: puerh tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: very dark amber
Puerh is just the thing when I've had a little too much to eat and today was one of those days. Norbu Tea's website gives a very interesting description of this tea:
Lao Cha Tou translates loosely as 'Old Tea Nugget.' Cha Tou are small nuggets of clumped-together tea leaves that are formed as a result of the heat and pressure that is generated by the piles of tea when they are undergoing fermentation. At the end of the 40-60 day fermentation process the newly fermented tea is sorted into grades based on size using impressive wind tunnel sorting machines. The nuggets are found toward the bottom of the pile usually after sorting, and are just a small portion of a batch of ripened Pu'er.
The cake was so tightly compressed that I had a hard time breaking off a chunk. Eventually I succeeded by chiseling it with a butter knife and hammer. My family's reaction to tea is always humorous and my uncle was convinced that this one bore a strong resemblance to an illegal substance. Once I was finally able to get started, I found it to be mellow and sweet with a pleasant earthiness. Although it was not very complex there was still a nice roundness in each sip. The mouth-feel was smooth and there was no bitterness to speak of. The leaves were very slow to unfurl. It was a little late at night when I drank this so I was only able to get in four gaiwans of tea. Their site indicates that it would have been able to handle fifteen or more infusions. I don't believe that I've ever had a tea made from Cha Tou before but it was very enjoyable.
You can find out more about this tea here.