Cha Tou Preparation
Cha Tou nuggets should be well blanched with boiling water to remove any post fermentation residue. This will ensure a cleaner taste profile and will help to open the leaves. If you're new to Cha Tou you might want to start with a low leaf to water ratio of about 2 grams per 6 ounces of water and steep for at least 5 minutes. The longer infusion time with fewer leaves will result in a smoother, sweeter body while the reverse will provide a more intense first impression. Once you're more familiar with it you will want to experiment with tea to water ratio and steeping time. A well-seasoned Yixing pot would be ideal, but not necessary--a gaiwan works beautifully as well. This tea is really fine enough to stand on its own.
In contrast to preparing other kinds of tea Puerh does not require a long infusion time. Rather, all Puerh tea is traditionally prepared in the gongfu style using an Yixing teapot or a gaiwan with a high leaf to water ratio and many short infusions. We recommend using between 5 and 8g per serving. The first infusion rinses and "wakes up" the tea and is then discarded. According to one school of thought subsequent infusions are brewed in sort of a "touch and go" style. As soon as the water is poured, the lid is replaced and the tea liquor is immediately poured into a chahai, or serving pitcher. We recommended accumulating the 1st and 2nd infusions in the pitcher in order to even out the flavor and taste. For each subsequent brewing, no more than 5 to 30 seconds is recommended. By brewing in this fashion you will get as many as 20 infusions. The other school of thought is slightly different with respect to the timing. This one starts with an infusion time of 30 seconds, increasing the time with each subsequent infusion. Using this method will provide 8 to 10 infusions. Fortunately, both methods produce a delicious tea, so you can easily play with it until you find your own preference.