How to Break and Wrap PuErh Cakes

Don Mei : Hey Teaheads. This is Don from Mei
Leaf. In this video : How To Break and Wrap Puerh cakes. In this video we’re going to
be doing a [really] quick one, just showing you how to break into Puerh cakes, and how
to wrap them up for storage. This video is going to go under the “Tea Master Classes”
playlist. If at any point in time you enjoy this video then please give [it] the thumbs-up.
The more thumbs in the air the more tea videos are going to come your way. If you haven’t
subscribed to our YouTube channel yet then go click that button. As I said, this is going
to be a super-quick one. I’m here with Celine, our resident Puerh tea cake wrapper. Celine : [laughter] Don : We have a cake up “Bloom Buster” here.
We’ve done videos on this tea already before, so I’m not going to talk about it, but you’re
welcome to take a look at this product. It’s a really nice Lao Ban Jiang, sheng Puerh , 2016.
We’re going to show you how to use a tea pick like this, and a tea inspection tray like
this, in order to break into Puerh cakes. Then, immediately afterwards, were going to
show you how best to wrap your Puerh cake up so that you can keep it nicely for storage
without making any mess. Don : (to Celine) : Ready to go? Celine : Yeah, sure. [laughter] Okay. I’m
not a professional, but I just started doing this because I have a few Puerh cakes, and
it’s like when you open it and you don’t wrap it up it just goes all over the place, and
it is just really annoying. Don : Yeah. It can make quite a mess. Celine : Yeah. It’s useful. It is useful to
wrap [the cakes]. Don : It’s one of those things that takes
a little bit of practice. Celine : Yeah. Don (to Celine) : But you’ve had a fair amount
of practice now. Celine : Eh! Yeah. Don : She’s good at it. It may not be as pro
as some of the people that you see in China, where they can wrap a cake in… Celine : Army style. It’s just like [CELINE
GESTURES RAPID CAKE WRAPPING] Don : Yeah. They can wrap them super-quickly,
and amazingly linked, but we do our best to explain it to you. We’re going to bring the
camera around and I’m going to show you how to break into this cake. Let’s break open this Bloom Buster here. Let’s
open it. We’ve already had some of this tea already. As you can see, it’s already been
broken into a little bit here. Here’s my Puerh pick and this is a nice tea inspection tray
[which is] really, really useful to keep things neat. It’s got a nice edge around it and it’s
got a little pouring corner – you can see here – that allows you to put the leaves into
your teapot. Now, here’s a very tightly wrapped Puerh cake. Puerh cakes have different levels
of compression, but this one is quite tightly wrapped, What you want to try to do is find
the place which is the easiest – or least [resistant] – for your tea pick. So you need
to look around your tea cake to find a nice little gap. I can see one just about here.
You can see that when you put it in… … Let me see if I can make sure it’s in
focus first before I do this… if you find a nice easy breaking point it slides in a
little bit easier. Just [do] a little rocking motion back and forth, and if you feel like
you’re breaking too many leaves then stop, come out, and try to attack it from a slightly
different angle. You need to be patient with [these] Puerh cakes. You need to slowly leverage
the leaves apart and find the area of least resistance. You can see [that] once you find
an area it starts to go a lot quicker. Let’s keep going, and make sure you don’t just keep
going in the same area. The leaves around the edge tend to be the loosest, so just go
around there first, loosen them up, and it will naturally loosen the leaves further in.
So again, as soon as you feel that you’re breaking it too much then just move it around
and then it will start to come. You can also use your hands. You can see here that this
has started to come, and I can pull this directly off. Now I’m going to put this cake aside. Celine
will show you how [to] wrap that in a second. Now I just want to show you the real advantage
of this tray here. You can start to get very geeky if you’d like and start to sort your
leaves out – because there will be some broken leaves. You just start to gently pull [and
leverage] the leaves apart a little bit so that you get as many whole leaves as possible.
Move them over the side. Again, leveraging them all apart. They start to come apart really
easily after a while, and then you can move them to the side. You can keep going, and
you can spend five [to] ten minutes just sorting through your leaves so that you have nice
leaves for your session, and you leave as much of the really small, broken leaves aside.
You can cold brew those if you’d like. [That’s] a nice way to use up your broken
leaves. The tea tray is a really nice way for you to inspect your leaves, and also to
sort them out. You can see how easy that is, without making a mess. Then, as I said, once
you’ve sorted your leaves out you’ve got this nice little area here that you can use to
pour [the leaves] into your clay pot, Gai Wan, or glass pot. Okay. I’m going to pour
these away here. We’ll save [these] for [brewing] in a second. [Then] I’m going to take this
tea dust — there’s still lots of good leaves here, [and] I’m not going to waste them. Before
you write that in the comments, these are not going to be wasted. I’m just going to
put them away for a second here so that you can be given the “master class” [laughter],
by Celine, on how to wrap a Puerh cake. Now, it’s much harder for you, isn’t it, Celine,
because this one has already been broken into? Celine : Eh, it’s all right. Don : But go for it. Show them how to do it. Celine : Okay. Even if your paper is kind
of broke, it’s fine. What I do is put it this way around. Don : So always with the little alcove here
– that you can see – face side up, so you’re putting the flat face down onto the wrapper. Celine : Indeed. Whatever side you want to
do, just start somewhere, and hold the cake a little bit in place with your first hand.
Then just fold over… Don : Okay. You do it and I’ll… Celine : You comment. Don : I’ll do the commentary. So it’s about
turning the cake, and not moving around the cake. So [you] turn the cake, as opposed to
trying to wrap around the cake. The wrapper will already have been wrapped around your
cake, so you should have pleats that are already there, which should naturally fall into place. But the key is to keep your hand quite still
and stationary, [and] not move them, move the cake around, and [you’re] just really
not making too many movements around the wrapper. So keep going until you get to the end. When
you get to the end it becomes a bit more complicated. Just try to wrap it up, squeeze it in, and
turn it over and that should stay quite nicely. Don (to Celine) : Do you want to do it one
more time? Celine : Yeah. Sure. Don : There you do. Okay. [You’re] starting
on one edge, and you can see how you’re just pulling the paper from the side. You’re just
keeping your hands still, and pulling the paper towards you, and just twisting the cake
every so often. Follow the pleats that are naturally there. Take your time [and] don’t
pull too hard, because it might rip the paper. Celine : [laughter] Okay. Don : It’s okay. It’s no problem if you do. Celine : It’s fine. Don : [Then] it gets a bit tricky towards
the end. You see [that] she just wrapped it up in the end, just to give herself some space,
and it’s this part — do you want to do that part again, just a little bit slower – that
last bit? Celine : So this bit, when you get to the
end, I just pull both sides Don : Yeah. [You] pull both sides to make
it flat. Celine : You just grab this end here [or]
I can grab here and push everything down there so it’s all … Then you either flatten it
over, but some people like to wrap this in [the alcove]… Don : And just really push it over inside
the hole of the tea cake. Then always store it the other way around to stop it from opening.
We advise you store it flat like that. Celine : Yeah. Don : Well done. What a pro. Okay, guys. I
hope that that was informative to you, and now you can break into your Puerh cakes and
wrap them perfectly like a pro. That’s it Teaheads. If you made it to the end of this
video then please give [it] the thumbs-up. Check out our YouTube playlists and let us
know if there are any videos that you would like us to make. If you’re ever in London
then please come visit us in Camden to say “Hi!” and taste our wares. If you have any
questions or comments then please fire them over. Other than that, I’m Don Mei, [and]
this is Celine, from Mei Leaf. Thank you for being a part of the revelation of true tea.
Stay away from the tea bags, keep drinking the good stuff, and spread the word, because
nobody deserves bad tea. Celine : [WAVING] Bye.