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Large Black Tea Brick

FORMED TEA –  1000gr

GRADE(S): Compressed OP (Orange Pekoe)


REGION: Hubei Province, China

CUP CHARACTERISTICS: Full bodied with slight must notes. Generally not used as a beverage.

Ingredients: Black tea. 1989

£ 60.00

In stock

SKU: 771541395695 Categories: ,


Large Black Tea Brick

Tea bricks are perhaps one of the most visually striking forms of processed tea in the world. The origin of the brick is rooted in the ancient spice trading routes of the ancient Far East in and around the 9th century. Traders and caravan herders transported everything they had by camel or on horseback so all goods had to be designed to take up as little space a possible. Tea producers wishing to export their product devised a way of compacting processed tea leaves by mixing it with stalk and tea dust and then pressing it tightly into forms and drying them in the sun. Centuries of trading made the tea bricks become so popular that by the 19th and even early 20th centuries, pieces broken from a brick were used as currency in Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia, and Northern China.

The method traditionally used for brewing tea from a tea brick was to roast a piece over a flame until it turned reddish. The piece of brick was then crumbled and brewed in a pot. In some parts of China it was also customary to spice up the brew by adding onion, ginger, and orange. In Tibet, tea bricks were traditionally used to make the country’s famous fermented yak butter tea. As for us, if you find you have no fermented yak butter in the fridge, we recommend simply using regular milk – although most people nowadays like tea bricks simply for their aesthetic qualities. These black tea brick make a unique gift and a great conversation starter if placed in an upright plate holder.

Where was black Pu-erh developed? Good question. While the exact origins of most Chinese Pu-erh teas have been lost to the mists of time and place, the origin of black Pu-erh can be pinpointed directly to the Kunming Tea Factory in the year 1972. In that year, the government of China, seeking to broaden its economic base, mandated that the Kunming factory develop a new, delicious tea that could be widely marketed. Drawing on centuries of experience, the tea masters of Kunming determined that a black Pu-erh was the ticket. (They were right, to this day black Pu-erh is the world’s top selling variety.)

What makes black Pu-erh tea different from other black teas? Great question. The answer is real fermentation and aging. Black Pu-erh undergoes a fermentation process in which the tea is processed and stored for a set period of time without being dried completely. The tea is usually either buried in the ground, stored in caves or under damp heavy tarps. Fermenting over time imparts the earthy character typical of most Pu-erh teas.

Besides pu erh tea, other kinds of dark teas such a Black Tea Briks, are less known outside of China. We believe it requires special attention when it comes to preparing this tea, due its special production method and tight compression. In this guide, we’ll introduce you two ways to steep dark brick teas.

Boiling Dark Brick Tea:

Dark teas, such as Black tea Briks, are often compressed more tightly than other dark teas like pu-erh. By boiling such tea, they loosen up faster. Don’t worry about any bitter taste. This kind of tea has undergone pile fermentation resulting in a very smooth and non-bitter tea, even if it’s boiled. Here are the steps:

  1. Put brick tea pieces and water in cookware (e.g. pan or iron tea kettle) at a ratio of 1:40.
  2. Bring the water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, you can turn off the heat.
  3. Strain out the leaves and serve the tea. If you pursue a stronger and more full-bodied taste, leave it for a few minutes after the heat is turned off.

Steeping Dark Brick Tea:

  1. Put brick tea pieces and hot water (at 100ºC) into a teapot or a gaiwan at a ratio of 1:20.
  2. Wait for 1.5 minutes to rinse and awaken the tea chunks (for loose leaf dark tea, 30 seconds will be enough). Discard this brew into a pitcher.
  3. Add hot water again and cover the teapot with a lid. Now pour the content of the pitcher over the teapot to improve heat retention (obviously, you can’t do this when using a gaiwan).
  4. Steep for 2 minutes and then it’s ready to enjoy. You may adjust the steeping time based on your personal preferences. The fun part of dark brick teas is that shorter steeping times will result in citrus and lemongrass notes, while longer steeping times will make the tea taste more nutty, woody with hints of ripe fruit.

For the 2nd and 3rd brew, still apply a 2 minute steeping time. You’ll find that these two brews are darker compared to the first brew (as the tea has fully loosened up). After the third brew, you can gradually increase the steeping time, to fully extract the rest of the flavour out of the leaves.

We strongly recommend using filtered or freshly drawn cold water brought to a rolling boil when brewing all types of tea. Today’s water has been known to carry viruses, parasites and bacteria. Boiling the water will kill these elements and reduce the potential incidence of water-borne illnesses.

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