Shapes of Pu-erh Tea
Pu-erh tea is a variety of fermented tea commonly produced in the Yunnan Province of China.It derives its name from the town of Pu-erh. Pu-erh tea comes in two varieties, Raw Pu-erh and Ripe Pu-erh, depending on how the leaves are processed. After processing the leaves are compressed into several shapes. The different type of shapes are:
Commonly known as Juan Cha in Chinese. They are thick rectangular blocks of tea weighing 100 g, 250 g, 500 g or 1000 g. Brick is the traditional shape that was used for transport along the ancient tea route.
Referred as Beeng Cha in Chinese. The tea is compressed to round, flat, disc-shaped tea. Its size ranges from small cakes of 100 g to large cakes weighing above 5 kg. The edge of the cake can be either perpendicular or rounded depending on the method used during pressing. Cake tea is normally packed in a seven unit package during transport. Other names used to refer to cake tea include Bing and disc tea.
Commonly known as Tuo Cha in Chinese. The leaves are compressed into a convex knob-shaped structure. The name Tuo Cha is obtained from the round top shape of the compressed tea. The name is also believed to have been derived from the old tea trading route of the Tuojiang River Its size ranges from 3 g bowls to large 3 Kg bowls with those of 100 g, 250 g and 500 g being more common. In ancient times, bowl tea had holes punched at the center so that they could be tied together by a rope for easy transport. Bowl tea is sometimes referred as Nest tea.
It is known as Maw Tuaw meaning "tight tea" in Chinese. The tea is shaped much like the bowl/tuocha tea but with a protruding stem rather than a convex hollow. This makes them resemble a mushroom. Its sizes are usually 250 g or 300 g. Mushroom tea is mainly produced for Tibetan consumption.
Its Chinese name is Fangcha. Tea leaves are compressed into flat square shapes. Its sizes are mainly 100 g or 200 g. Square tea contains words that are pressed onto it for decoration purposes.
It is known as Jingua in Chinese. Its shape is similar to that of Nest tea but larger in size. It has a thick body with pumpkin like stripes on its sides. This shape was developed for the "Tribute tea" made for the Qing Dynasty Emperor from the best tea leaves of Yiwu Mountain. When this shapes are build to large sizes, their shape is referred to as a human-head as many times it was presented before courts when severing the heads of enemies or criminals. The other name of melon tea is Gold melon.
Its Chinese name is Lonzhu. Leaves are compressed into small ball-shaped structures and are used for single serving. This tea balls weigh between 5 and 10 grams. The practice of rolling tea is common among Green tea and black tea in Yunnan.
Tea leaves are compressed into a bamboo tube. The bamboo tubes are placed in wood fire for drying. As the bamboo dries, the leaves obtain the shape of the bamboo tube. Sometimes this leaves are known to have a special aroma obtained from the bamboo tubes.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karina Garcia is sales manager of JK Tea Shop, authentic Chinese Loose Leaf tea supplier, for more information, please visit our website at: jkteashop.com