Simply put, mini Toucha is the smaller sibling of our large Toucha pods. This ancient variety of tea is made from a Yunnan large leaf varietal, Camelia Assamica, and is actually a variety of Pu-erh. The pods themselves are made by taking the processed green leaves, steaming them, and then pressing them into small bowl-shaped forms. The process is quite laborious as each pod must be pressed by hand.
Mini Toucha pods, like all Pu-erh teas age exceptionally well – in China it is not that uncommon to find processed tea in local Yunnan tea shops that has been aged for 25 years or more! When infused the tea has a mild musty character that to connoisseurs is immediately identifiable as Yunnan Pu-erh. To the unitiated this character can be surprising and remind one of the smell of fresh earth. It is also because of this character that the tea is known in some parts of China as “Earth tea.”
As with many green teas, and especially Pu-erh teas, mini-Toucha pods can be infused multiple times. The next time you brew up a pot pay close attention to the flavor profile of the cup. Much like re-reading a novel, or watching a movie again, you will discover that while the fundamental character remains, the subtle nuances of flavor will change slightly from cup to cup – a subtle mustiness here – a milder sweetness there. Truly one of the Yunnan provinces most compelling brews.