2012 YS Lao Cha Tou Brick

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Pu-erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by tperez
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  • “ This product is rated “E” for extraneous objects This is manly tea; earthy, brown leaves wadded up into nuggets and smashed into a tightly compressed brick, not to mention a few bits of things...” Read full tasting note

From Yunnan Sourcing

Cha Tou is a kind of tea nugget that forms naturally from the pressures of compression and heat that occurs during the fermentation process. Typically during fermentation process to make ripe pu-erh there is a pile of tea about 1 meter high. It is kept wet to allow the fermentation process and the pile is turned every few days to allow for an even degree of fermentation, moving the tea from the bottom of the pile (where it is hotter and wetter) to the top of the pile where it is cooler and drier. The “cha tou” are the leaves that ball up and get stuck together. The best cha tou are ones that have not been over-fermented and are smaller in size.

This Lao Cha Tou brick is composed entirely of Menghai area material. Our 2012 production is a blend of 2 different “cha tou”, one from 2006 and another from 2009. The fermentation levels of the 2006 batch is slightly heavier (leaves are darker), whereas the fermentation level of the 2009 batch was lighter (some lighter brown color with hints of olive in the brewed leaves). These two different cha tou together makes for a nice full mouthfeel. Smooth but with a lingering mouth-feel and cha qi. An excellent ripe tea that can be brewed 15 to 20 times.

Net Weight: 250 grams per brick
Fermentation time: 2006 and 2009
Harvest Area: Menghai County of Xishuangbanna

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1 Tasting Note

318 tasting notes
This product is rated “E” for extraneous objects

This is manly tea; earthy, brown leaves wadded up into nuggets and smashed into a tightly compressed brick, not to mention a few bits of things that weren’t actually tea at all. From the outside I can see a little wood chip on the nei fei and a thumbnail sized black pebble that looks like flint or graphite peeking out from one of the corners.

Early steeps: Mild and sweet with sage and cedar notes with just a bit of mushroom flavor. It has a really clean taste for shu. Not as clean as the Verdant Peacock Village that I got to sample, but definitely the next most “sheng-like” that I’ve tasted. The taste is earthy, but still clear and crisp. The third steep starts to show flavors of pine and grilled corn? I know that’s a weird one, and its not smokey, but that’s the flavor I get. :P

Later steeps: Around the fourth steep the tea starts to gets even cleaner with linen, spice cabinet, and raw corn flavors, and a mouthfeel like warm milk. Around the seventh steep it starts to show an almost sparkling quality, a cappuccino creaminess, and a fresh, clean taste like a light rain. The tea started to fade in the ninth steep, but held out for a tenth.

Bottom Line: This is a delicious and very re-steepable shu, but not for you if you’re grossed out by the idea of finding “bonus content” in you tea. Personally I’m not really bothered by finding things in my pu’erh, so long as it’s relatively sanitary. “If I were a rich man” (cue pit music) I think I’d buy a few more of these bricks to stash away.

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Well said! Love these lao cha!


Thanks! This is the first one I’ve tried, I’ll have to check out some more :)


The menghai are excellent from 2011 back.


odd and wow


That is very common in factory production unfortunately. I recently received a SAMPLE size from a Sheng I got from Yunnan Sourcing. It had two granite pebbles and a piece of cloth (Possibly from the mantle things they use to cover they piles while they ferment). Mrmopar is right, older version seem cleaner I guess they weren’t doing so much mass production yet back then.

Tea can still taste ok. But it sometimes it is very off putting to find things in the cakes other than tea.


working in the coffee industry, you find all kinds of rocks, metal, odds’n’ends in the green coffee…most gets discovered when scooping to roast, some on the roasting table, and very rarely in the bucket…but I guess I’m used to that and find only the ‘human’ matter that shows up in some ‘hand-picked/rolled’ teas to be a bit off putting..but I feel 200 degree water should solve for this :)


It’s funny to think how these things get into the tea. Most of the teas that I’ve gotten have had little to no foreign objects, but this brick and a Fengqing sheng tou that I have seem to be loaded with little goodies :P

Luckily they all seem to be natural things, finding something like a bug would really gross me out


Hahahaha, Same here. Feng Qing has a high probability of foreign material in my experience. I swear one had several broom hairs.

Kashyap, I agree with you, sometimes finding human matter is disturbing but I think most of it is usually during packing, at least with most other tea (aka, black, white, green and oolong), I think what ‘grosses’ me out is that in Puerh is during the process of making it, but it is also to be expected. If you look at the making process of most Puerh (mostly factory made) several people work with the tea, which increases the chances of hair (I hope you exclusively meant hair by ‘human matter’ lol).

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