Compressed tea bricks
Hello Tea Friends
I am quite amused by the idea of compressed tea/tea bricks. The problem is I very much dislike pu’erh. (Now the object of this discussion is not really to do with pu’erh. I am not looking for suggestions on what kinds I might like if I just tried them. I have tried it all and unfortunately do not like it. I can smell it from a mile away and it is a big “no way” for me. I have only found one flavoured blend of sheng that I liked…).
I would like to buy some compressed/brick tea but is there anything that is black tea but not specifically pu’erh? I have done lots of looking online but many companies just list black tea, which I find is often code for pu’erh. Telling me the province it comes from (ie. from the Yunnan area) doesn’t really help me because it still could be pu’erh.
I have tried the Canton Feng Qing compressed mini bricks before but they do not seem available anymore.
Does anyone have any suggestions of a black compressed brick tea that is NOT pu’erh?
Yunnan sourcing has a couple, their Drunk on Red is a fantastic red tea. I have devious plans to get their Spring Yi Shan White Tea and Camellia Flower Cake and Autumn Old Arbor Yue Guang Bai Tea Cake in the future.
Also around Aliexpress you can find all sorts of compressed tea cakes, from oolongs to tea flowers…to just straight up flowers…it is a silly place full of such totally random stuff.
I have these:
And I have the Yi Shan White with Camellia Flower from Yunnan Sourcing – it’s really nice. Sweet and a little fruity. I was drinking it last night…
Thanks for all the recommendations Dex! What kind of shipping do you use with YS. Do you go with the most expensive EMS or whatever it is called like YS suggests?
It depends on the size of my order. I look at the cost vs shipping time. Normally if it’s just tea I would choose Express Small Parcel (e-packet). I did place an order with a ton of teaware and just chose the China Post Surface and it took FOREVER – something like 3 months. I’ve never ordered from the US site only the China Site….
@Dexter, thank you for posting the link to the Da Hong Pao brick, I just bought some of that. I’ve been looking for something like the aged DHP brick that TwoDog sent out with the September W2T club, and this seems like it might be pretty close. Well, for $8.99 it was worth a shot anyway. And I’ve been looking to dip my toes in the Alixpress pool for awhile. I have a feeling this order will be the first of many!
This isn’t black it’s aged DHP – the listings says black, but it tastes like an aged oolong and two of my IG friends confirm the markings on the packages are DHP.
@curlygc Shrug – sometimes Aliexpress is hit and miss – but it’s TONS of FUN to explore, just go in with an open mind. I’ve bought amazing tea for next to nothing and have also got stuff that wasn’t what I was expecting. I’ve never gotten anything BAD….
YS’s Drunk on Red is very good, totally get that one. It’s also pretty cheap.
I own a couple oolong cakes/bricks, camellia flower cake, white tea + camellia flower, and an aged white tea brick. I actually bought an oolong brick today at a tea festival. Out of those three, the flower cake is the biggest disappointment. I think it’s really for show that it is pressed as it does not have a good lifespan, mine went bad on me and was warned to drink it in a year. The aged white is the best, the oolong brick I got today was pretty good.
Cheap oolong cake – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wuyi-Rock-Tea-Compressed-Da-Hong-Pao-Wu-Long-Big-Red-Robe-Oolong-Tea-Cake-T048-/400564692668?var=&hash=item9c0714779a but warning, this sucker is so compressed that you can probably build a house with it. I still need to try mine but I am scared I will break things trying to bust off a piece.
I’ve seen a golden needle black cake once on Aliexpress.
Yunnan Sourcing has a couple other black tea bricks as well as the Drunk on Red series. If it was the smell of puerh that you didn’t like have you tried raw puerh. I suspect the tea smell that you didn’t like was in ripe tea. Raw tea smells very different.
Thanks for the suggestions. I will have to check out YS a bit more.
AllanK – I have tried ripe and raw, aged and not so aged, expensive and cheap, etc, and can’t find any type that I like. Its just something about it that I can’t stomach.
If you like floral oolongs, Aliexpress has a delicious oolong cake:
Guess what I just found at the YS US store! http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/index.php?id_product=770&controller=product
If you like Darjeeling, I highly recommend this:http://www.artoftea.com/tea/oolong-tea/formosa-oolong-tea-cake.html
It was my first cake of anything ever and it resteeps lovely.
One thing to remember about compressed black tea bricks is that unlike puerh older is not necessarily better. You are better off with a more recent brick than an aged brick. Black tea does not age like puerh although some vendors will try to sell “aged” black teas.
Shang Tea has a brick aged white; the site’s online shop only lists it in loose form (at least currently), but they will sell a full brick (if available) if you call or send them an email:
friend, recommend you try some Raw(shen) puerh tea, since in my opinion, the black(shu) puerh all have the ferment smell, it is very special.
but raw(shen) puerh is different, they never ferment, more like green tea or white tea, the soup have kind sweet flavor also lighter.
and for the shape of the tea, it is because of the different pressing process. however I learned from experienced tea friends, that cake tea>brick tea>bowl tea>loose packaged tea, cake is the best.
Bricks might be “amusing” but they are generally lower quality tea leaf. The taste experience might not be as amusing.
LOL, you make a good point. I think what is intriguing to me is the whole concept of the process to make the tea. It takes a bit of work to chip off a piece and then watch it expand through several steeps. I love watching the agony of the tea leaves. I am all about the experience that way, even if it is a cheapy tea :)
Well, you don’t get to chip them off but IMO black pearls have a beautiful unfurling process that might provide a similar enjoyment for you. Not sure if you’ve had them before or not, but there are a couple available at any given time. I can only vouch for Teavivre’s but I re-buy them whenever I run out…assuming they are in stock. :)