Tea Heads

We’ve recently been going to Nan Chun Tea Factory in Menghai to get some work done. One day while we were there, HM discovered that they had previously made som ‘cha tou‘ or tea heads. This is basically a large ball – 1 or 2 kg – of tea. H.M managed to convince Nan Chun Cha Chang’s lao ban to personally make some cha tou out of some Nan Nuo Shan mao cha that we had left from this spring.

The weighed tea is steamed in the usual way and emptied into a cloth bag.

The tea is then rolled,

puerh tea heads getting a roll


making cha tou

and squeezed

detail of making tea head using puerh mao cha

into a near spherical shape

nan chun cha chang lao ban with tea head

Nan Chun Tea Factory, Peng Lao Ban with a ‘tea head’

What you end up with is a pretty dense ball of tea – it could certainly do some damage if thrown in the wrong direction. (You’ve heard of Gunpowder tea – this is cannonball tea)

It has to be dried in a low temperature oven because, despite all the beating and squeezing, the moisture content in the centre is still relatively high so normal air drying would run the risk of the centre of the thing going mouldy.

The end result is rather pleasing – a solid lump of tea!