Do I actually need a tea needle?

Do I really need a tea needle to break up pu erh cakes? Can I use a knife or a clean/steralized screwdriver?

17 Replies
mrmopar said

I would buy an awl from the wood working section of a store they work well to work with. The picks are actually inexpensive on Ebay.

Sorry for not responding. Thanks! I appreciate the response

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I have hands.

If it needs some limbering, try this:

yssah said


This is fantastic!

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Asaf Mazar said

Puer frisbie! looks like I am not the only one that’s gotten a disappointing cake in the mail.

I bought that at a grocery store near me for like $5… which is cheaper than a frisbee!

The truth about this tea cake is that it was on the top shelf at the grocery store for over a year and nobody bought it because it’s just an old box with some gold foil wrapped around it. I never bought it because last year I didn’t drink pu’erh but this year I began to which made me interested about this dumb old box at the top shelf that never got attention. It may look sketchy but I don’t regret purchasing it :)

Based off of what I can tell… it is at the very least 5-10 years old. It’s a Yunnan Shitsu Pingcha with some nice gold thread going through it.

I’m just a bit crazy!

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Asaf Mazar said

Many tea cakes are compressed loose enough that using your hands damages less leaf than the needle, though the center of the cake is usually hard to pry apart. I have tried both knife an screwdriver and prefer using a needle. Its more ergonomic and seems to damage the tea less. They are only a few bucks.

Thanks! I went with the tea needle!

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boychik said

Yes . They are very cheap on Aliexpress

Thanks, boychik! I feel like I should be pinching somebody’s cheeks when I see your username.

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AllanK said

If you buy one don’t buy one of the really flimsy ones that are really sewing awls sold as puerh needles, they can break on a tea cake. Good examples are sold by Yunnan Sourcing, Berylleb King Tea on EBay, and in almost every store that specializes in puerh.

Thanks a lot AllanK! I’ve really enjoyed your reviews as I’ve been perusing my way through steepster

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You can get an pu’er needle for really cheap. Mandala has them if you want it fast (assuming you are US based). Ebay and aliexpress are cheap but you’ll have to ride shipping from china.

I tried an eyeglasses flathead screwdriver and a fine crochet hook – those do not work and just rip the cake to pieces. My husband took a screwdriver and grinded it to a point and that works alright.

If you are truly desperate and know you are going to drink the entire cake, stuff it in a bag and break it with a hammer or something.

Thanks ASOO! I’ve really enjoyed reading your reviews!

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ZhenTea said

For good quality pu’er that you are intended to age, you might want to have a proper tea knife and glove to break the cake because the oil from our hands affects the aging process of it, similarly to how you cultivate a Yixing tea pot.

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