Haiwan Mini Tuo Cha Raw Pu-erh (海湾生沱茶) is a raw (sheng) pu-erh from Menghai County, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. Made from leaves that are pressed into a small dome shape called tuo, this raw pu-erh is easy going and accessible. The current batch is from 2017 harvest so it is still relatively young and, as is common with mini tuo cha, is made up of smaller grade leaf. Each mini tuo weights around 5 grams, making it very convenient for brewing. Our 10g packs have 2 tuos, while 50g packs have on average 9-11 tuos.
These mini raw tuos are produced by Haiwan Tea Factory (海湾茶厂), which is a reasonably new company. The founder of Haiwan Tea Factory, Mr Zou Bing Liang has worked in the famous Menghai Tea Factory since 1957 and then managed it from 1984. In 1999 he decided to start his own factory with a focus on high grade tea and the high end market. Haiwan Tea Factory has grown in popularity and the products from here are highly sought after.
This Haiwan Mini Tuo Cha Raw Pu-erh is a great introduction to sheng pu-erh. It comes in individually wrapped mini tuos that are around 5 grams in weight. This makes them ideal for both western style brewing (1 tuo per 500ml pot) or gongfu brewing (1 tuo per gaiwan or small pot). The leaves are of the smaller size grade so they release flavour quicker, making for faster steeping time.
These mini tuos are made up of smaller sized broken leaf, some stalks and good amount of tips still present. This represents a great introduction to sheng pu-erh as well as providing a nice tea for daily drinking. The smaller leaf results in quicker brewing and it releases a golden green liquor with a woody aroma with a touch of smoke. The taste is smooth and achieves a nice balance between savoury and lightly sweet flavours with notes of woody pine and fruity apricots. The umami flavours also add some herbal notes reminiscent of mint. The aftertaste is clean, with a lasting mineral flavour. These are good to drink now but further ageing will only improve the complexity and smoothness of flavours.
We suggest brewing at 95°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. It should be brewed multiple times depending on your taste preferences. It is best suited for gongfu brewing. Give these a quick rinse with hot water before the first steep if desired to start opening these up.