Lao Cha Tou Pu Erh Tea: A Deep Dive into the Old Tea Nugget

May 20


Karina Garcia

Karina Garcia

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Lao Cha Tou, translating to "Old Tea Nugget" in Chinese, is a distinctive variety of Pu Erh tea known for its large, nugget-like formations. These nuggets are a result of the unique manufacturing process of shou Pu Erh, which involves intense heat and humidity. This aged tea offers a smooth, clean infusion with mild earthiness and a full-bodied, sweet taste.

Production Process

The production of Lao Cha Tou is a meticulous process. Typically,Lao Cha Tou Pu Erh Tea: A Deep Dive into the Old Tea Nugget Articles shou Pu Erh is stored in large tanks or high piles for extended periods. The tea is mixed manually and occasionally with forks. However, the bottom layers of these piles are difficult to access. Under the influence of high humidity, elevated temperatures, and limited oxygen, the tea leaves and buds at the bottom fuse into dense clumps. This constant pressure and lack of oxygen impart unique properties to the tea, resulting in a deep, velvety taste.

Key Production Steps

  1. Storage: Shou Pu Erh is kept in large tanks or high piles.
  2. Mixing: The tea is mixed by hand and with forks periodically.
  3. Clumping: The bottom layers, under high humidity and temperature, form dense clumps due to limited oxygen.

Brewing Process

To fully appreciate Lao Cha Tou, it's essential to follow a precise brewing process. Here’s a detailed guide:

Required Equipment

  • Brewing Vessel: Gaiwan (150-180cc capacity) or Yixing pot (180-200cc capacity)
  • Water: Purified or mineral water is recommended
  • Water Temperature: Between 95-100°C (203°F to 212°F)
  • Tea Amount: 6-8 grams per Gong Fu Cha (adjust based on personal taste)

Brewing Steps

  1. Warm Up: Warm the vessels and then pour out the hot water.
  2. Wash the Tea: Quickly pour hot water into the Gaiwan/pot and pour it out immediately. Smell the tea aroma on the lid to enjoy the fragrance.
  3. First Infusion: Pour hot water into the Gaiwan/pot and steep for about 3-5 seconds before pouring out (adjust based on personal taste).
  4. Subsequent Infusions: Increase the steeping time by 2-3 seconds for each successive infusion.

Medicinal Properties

Lao Cha Tou is not just a delightful beverage; it also boasts several medicinal benefits. This tea has a tonic effect and is known to alleviate symptoms of overeating, treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, and accelerate metabolism. Additionally, it helps reduce blood sugar levels, making it a valuable addition to a healthy diet.

Health Benefits

  • Digestive Aid: Helps with overeating and treats stomach ulcers.
  • Metabolism Booster: Accelerates metabolic processes.
  • Blood Sugar Regulation: Contributes to lowering blood sugar levels.

Interesting Stats and Facts

  • Global Tea Market: The global tea market was valued at approximately $55 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% from 2021 to 2028 (Grand View Research).
  • Pu Erh Tea Popularity: Pu Erh tea, including Lao Cha Tou, has seen a surge in popularity due to its unique flavor profile and health benefits. In 2020, China exported over 350,000 tons of tea, with Pu Erh being a significant contributor (Statista).
  • Health Benefits: A study published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" found that Pu Erh tea can help reduce cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular health (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).


Lao Cha Tou Pu Erh tea is a remarkable beverage with a rich history and numerous health benefits. Its unique production process and distinctive flavor make it a favorite among tea enthusiasts. Whether you're a seasoned tea drinker or new to the world of Pu Erh, Lao Cha Tou offers a delightful and healthful experience.

By understanding its production, brewing methods, and medicinal properties, you can fully appreciate the depth and complexity of this extraordinary tea.

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