Monday, 3 August 2015

Tea bricks

Since 1967, the making of compressed tea developed into a new phase. The shape of compressed puerh tea eventually took the form of a brick weighing 250 g.  The reason to have the compressed puerh tea made in the form of bricks was simple. It was all about stackability. Just like in an aircraft, things have to be designed with stackability in mind due to space limitation. For maximum storage capacity, puerh tea is compressed in the form of bricks so they can be stacked easily. These tea bricks can be easily put in boxes for transportation or storage.

In the 60s which was the period of Cultural Revolution in China, there was a batch of puerh tea bricks made entirely from green tea processed into the so-called raw puerh tea. These tea bricks carried the inside sticker bearing characters of the Cultural Revolution Committee. This particular tea type is really a gem in the eyes of the collectors. However, there are plenty of fakes in the market.

In 1973, Menghai Factory introduced the formula to make cooked puerh tea. The factory successfully produced cooked puerh tea where the ageing of the tea was remarkably shortened by an artificially controlled ageing process. Towards the end of the Cultural Revolution, Menghai Factory produced another famous batch of puerh tea bricks where a mixture of raw and cooked puerh tea leaves were used in the recipe. This became what is known as the 7562 tea bricks. This tea type is highly sought after by tea collectors due to its excellent quality.

Yet another famous tea bricks produced by Menghai Factory is the 1973 thick-brick (due to the thickness of the slab) where mixture of raw and cooked tea was used in the recipe. These bricks were bundled in a brownish rope. The 73 thick-bricks are considered very good tea due to the success of blending raw and cooked puerh tea to make them. It has a deep soothing flavour and a fragrance resembling age old herb with the characteristic of Chinese medicine. Unfortunate such good tea is in short supply due to heavy consumption by tea drinkers over the years.

A rare gem of the puerh tea

Bricks made in the late 70s
With success in making cooked puerh tea, Menghai Factory continued to experiment and make large batches of puerh tea bricks using blended puerh tea leaves and improved methods. Puerh tea bricks will continue to be a force in the puerh market.

500 g puerh brick
I personally like puerh tea bricks as it is easier to stack them in my store room for long term storage. The size of 250 g is also ideal for consumption.

No comments:

Post a Comment