1939 Hei Zhuan brick tea
Hei Zhuan bricks, literally translated as ‘dark/black brick tea’, is one of the earliest recipes from 1939. The dry tea has a dark appearance, with a wood-roast smell. It brews a bright yellow cup of tea with hints of oranges & lemongrass and a remarkable aftertaste. The wet leaves appear dark greenish and the character of this tea lies somewhere between a young ripe and a well-aged raw pu erh.
1953 Fu Zhuan brick tea
Fu Zhuan dark teas are produced based on a recipe from 1953. By using a special fermentation method, the surface of the tea develops spores, known as golden flowers (jin hua). This is a kind of probiotic, which doesn’t only have many benefits for the health, but also results in a mouth-watering taste. The dry tea color is brownish and the compression is less tight. The tea liquor is brown-red, the texture is thick and smooth and the aroma of golden flowers is lovely.
1958 Hua Zhuan brick tea
At last, this sampler also contains two packs of Hua Zhuan tea (Flower bricks). This dark tea is produced based on a classic recipe from 1958. The dry tea appears yellow/brown. Once brewed, the tea soup is orange and the aroma as hints of smoked pinewood.
A chunk weighs about 13 grams. If you’re just brewing by yourself, we recommend you split one chunk into 2 to 3 parts and use just one part for your brewing session. No tea knives are required, the chunks are easy to further break up by hand.
Brewing dark tea requires some serious heat. Brew the teas at a max temperature in a teaware with good heat retention (e.g. ceramic or Yixing clay teapot). Alternatively, you can boil the tea in a pan. For more details, please read this guide: 2 ways to brew dark tea.
Origin: Anhua, Hunan
The Anhua tea region is characterized by mountains surrounded by rivers. With a mild climate and mineral-rich, fertile soil. Thus, it has the ideal conditions for growing tea. Due to the increasing popularity of dark tea, the region became an autonomous county. There is a saying “Anhua first had tea before it became a county”. Even today, the county’s economy is still mainly dependent on this local product.
Anhua Dark Tea Production
To produce Anhua dark tea, the leaves are picked, withered, fixed through pan-frying, and rolled. The leaves are then stored in a hot room for pile fermentation, and at last roasted. The resulting tea is dark loose leaf tea (‘maocha’), which oftentimes is further processed into bricks. This happens by steaming the leaves soft and tends to press the leaves in the shape of bricks. It’s the fermentation & roasting step is that gives each kind of dark tea its unique character.
The production of Hei, Fu, and Hua bricks all roughly follows the described production steps, it’s the blending recipe and variation in each production step that makes them different.
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