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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.