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How do I brew a mini-tuocha?

My first Pu-erh is is on its way to me now: a sample of the Rose Scented Pu-erh Mini Tuocha from Chicago Tea Garden (http://steepster.com/teas/chicago-tea-garden/13470-rose-scented-pu-erh-tuocha). I’ve been trying to learn how to steep it when it comes, but I haven’t figured it out. From some places online I get the impression that I should break it apart before brewing; from others I get the sense I should just drop the whole thing in the pot and pour the water over it?

What’s the right way to do it?

6 Replies

I am probably not the best person to ask because I’ve not brewed a lot of tuocha, but what I’ve done in the past is put it in my gaiwan as is, and allowed it to fall apart on its own, which it does.

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Sara said

I brew a cup at a time, using my biggest strainer (one of the kinds that fills up the cup) and just drop it in there and get a-brewing. It’ll break up as you resteep. I can usually get about five steeps from a mini tuocha, and by the end it’s just collapsed into a bunch of leaves.

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Janefan said

CTG sends a helpful tea steeping time chart w/ their samples! (Well hopefully they still do, they did last year!…) It includes pu’er steeping temp times (212F) for up to 4 steepings. They recommend warming the teaware first, and rinsing the leaves w the water at steeping temp first. I think I gave the Jasmine toucha a long swish (about 5 seconds?) and dumped it out, then resteeped at full time. I am by no means a pu-er expert, I’ve only tried a handful, but Chicago Tea Garden’ sample was a great intro for me and the info they provided was very helpful. I definitely would have overbrewed it and/or screwed up the resteeps without their guidelines to follow!

Janefan said

Here’s my note: http://steepster.com/teas/chicago-tea-garden/12651-jasmine-scented-pu-erh-tuocha

Just remembered I have a few of the wild oranges…. maybe I’ll get adventurous and try one tonight! Steeping/resteeping a pu-er toucha does require more attention to time and temperature than I am usually willing to give but it is a great experience when you have the time and focus to be mindful of it.

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Angrboda said

There’s no need to try and break it apart first. It’ll fall apart by itself while steeping.

I tend to use one per cup, but mine are large cups of about ½ liter, and that works out fine for me strength-wise with a short ½-1 minute steep, and then customarily do two or three steeps of it. It can probably take more when they’re so short, but at that point I tend to start wanting something else.

Some people will recommend rinsing it first in an ultra-short steep which is then discarded, but I’m lazy so I usually skip that part and have had no bad experiences from that. I can’t taste any difference with or without rinsing.

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Thanks, everybody! My tea just arrived today. I can’t wait to try it!

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