Shapes of Pu-erh

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

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Aug 30th, '08, 14:51
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Shapes of Pu-erh

by edkrueger » Aug 30th, '08, 14:51

What are the advantages and disadvantages to different shapes of pu-erh?

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Aug 30th, '08, 14:59
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by PolyhymnianMuse » Aug 30th, '08, 14:59

An addition to that question I am also curious about, what makes the producer of any particular cake/brick/etc. actually decide to make that shape?

I would think that the actual compression of the tea itself would be more an advantage/disadvantage than the shape (of course some shapes may generally be more compact or loose than others)

Anyone with a better knowledge have any ideas about this?

Aug 30th, '08, 15:16
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by teakid » Aug 30th, '08, 15:16

Round cake shape = maximum surface exposure for better aging.
Brick shape = minimum storage space required (easier transporting on horses in the old days)
Tuo = ???
Mushroom = ???
Melon = ???

May be symbolic meaning or artistic purposes? I'm sure others would know.

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Aug 30th, '08, 15:18
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by heavydoom » Aug 30th, '08, 15:18

the disc shaped ones, ease of transport back in the days through the valleys, gorges of ancient yunnan.

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Aug 30th, '08, 19:19
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by hop_goblin » Aug 30th, '08, 19:19

Different shapes of pu are generally due to different significances. The most traditional of shapes was the Zhuan Cha or brick. This is the grandfather of shapes. They were great for stacking into baskets for easy transport.

Second, the Beeng Cha or cake tea. This shaped allowed more surface area to be exposed for more effective "maturing".

The Discus shape was a product of the Communist gov't wanting to modernize the tea producing operations. In an effort to do so, they decided that a mechanical machine could press the quanities needed as opposed to stone or traditional method pressing.

The Tuo cha is a bit more of a mystery. Some say that the shape was invented by tea maidens who wanted to make extra cash. They would pluck leaves and roll them into a ball hidden in their clothes so no one could see.

Ingot Shape, well this shape is more symbolic than for actual maturing reasons. Friends and families will give gold ingot shaped teas to bring good luck and fortune.

Jincha Mushroom shape developed from the Tuo shape. They believed that if the tea was in a shape of a mushroom as opposed to a tuocha, then more surface air would be exposed and therefore less like for the tea to deteriorate.

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Aug 30th, '08, 20:23
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by PolyhymnianMuse » Aug 30th, '08, 20:23

Hop you have made me much wiser :lol:

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Sep 2nd, '08, 12:52
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by Dizzwave » Sep 2nd, '08, 12:52

PolyhymnianMuse wrote:Hop you have made me much wiser :lol:
His wisdom is infectious...

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Sep 2nd, '08, 18:11
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by edkrueger » Sep 2nd, '08, 18:11

Yes, Thanks!

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