GREEN TEA BRICK
(China Formed Green Tea)
Ingredients From: China
Region: Hubei Province
Shipping Port: Shangai
Grade: Compressed brick tea
Altitude: 2000 – 4000 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Compressed tea
Cup Characteristics: Mild green tea character. Lightly vegetative with a smooth finish.
Infusion: Tending dull.
Antioxidant Level: Low
Caffeine Content: Low
Shelf Life: 50 years.
Luxury Ingredients: Green tea
These days a shipment of tea from a warehouse in Shanghai can reach Tibet's capital of Lhasa in a matter of days. Thanks to
the recently constructed railway to “the rooftop of the world”, a tea merchant can now accompany his shipment on the long
journey in heated and pressurized comfort. Pressurized of course because the train hurdles along at elevations as high 16,640
feet above sea level. (You read that correctly.) Now, people in Tibet have been drinking tea for many, many centuries - stories
of hot yak butter tea are legendary. But how did the tea get there prior to the construction of the great iron road in the sky? If
you answered “by truck”, very clever, but we‟re talking even further back. If you answered, “by pony”, again very clever but
many parts of the journey weren‟t accessible by pony. The correct answer is that tea, pressed into the form of bricks for ease of
transport, was hauled up to the mountain kingdom on foot. And just how impressive a feat was that? An examination of the
new rail line will help put it in perspective.
For its entire length, the new railroad sits at over 13,100 feet high. The highest station, in the town of Nagqu, is situated at
14,764 feet. Almost half the route travels across permafrost. As mentioned, the cabins of the train are pressurized to
compensate for the lack of oxygen at these altitudes. The threat of altitude sickness is so real that at all times, doctors are
present on board to treat passengers who succumb. Talk about goin‟ up the rails on a crazy train. Now, imagine yourself
carrying 300 lbs worth of tea bricks on your back and covering approximately 6 miles per day walking along the tracks.
Without exaggeration, that is how tea bricks once made their way to Tibet. The only saving grace was that merchants packed
the tea into large packs with a built in tri-pod that allowed them to rest the towering loads up against a wall – that, and the
magnificent views. The journey took weeks, sometimes months depending on weather. You can see why for centuries tea
bricks were used as currency - with each step their value literally raised with the altitude. Subsequently, wasting tea was
considered something of a sacrilege in ancient Tibet. (We‟d like to think wasting tea still is – anywhere!)
Beyond their historical method of transport, green tea bricks were something of a novelty when they first appeared.
Traditionally, tea bricks were made using fermented, or black, tea. And while many people elect to display them as a novelty
art piece, they also make a wonderful cup of tea. Either way, we offer them in honor of the many men who crossed mountains
in their name.
Hint: Tea bricks make an excellent display piece. People can’t help but ask about them!
Hot tea brewing method:
Traditional method (see note below): When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is
to use water that is about 180°F/82°C. Break apart and place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon in your cup let the tea steep for about
3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Adding milk and sugar is not recommended. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look
at the pattern of the leaves in the brew, not only do they foretell your fortune but you can see the bud and shoots presenting
themselves, looking like they are about to be plucked.
Modern Method: Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Break tea apart and place 1 slightly heaping
teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9oz/200-260ml of fluid volume in the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and
let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Adding milk or sugar is not
Note: Traditionally, the recommendation has been that green tea be brewed at 180°F/82°C. Regretfully, modern society makes
it necessary to consider that water may not be free of harmful bacteria and other impurities. Therefore you need to boil water
to kill bacteria. If you wish to use traditional brewing temperatures bring the water to a boil and allow it to cool to the desired
brewing temperature – it’s the food safe thing to do!
SERVING THIS AS ICED TEA IS GENERALLY NOT RECOMMENDED. HOWEVER, SHOULD YOU WISH TO
BREW IT ANYWAY, PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW:
Iced tea brewing method (Pitcher): (to make 1 liter/quart): Break tea apart and place 6 slightly heaping teaspoons of loose
tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 1¼ cups/315ml over the tea.
Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the tea. Add
ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of
hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when
poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)
Iced tea brewing method (Individual Serving): Break tea apart and place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea into a
teapot for each serving required. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 6-7oz/170-200ml per serving over
the tea. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Add hot tea to a 12oz/375ml acrylic glass filled with ice, straining the tea. Not all of
the tea will fit, allowing for approximately an additional ½ serving. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to
increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy
when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)
RECOMMENDATION: We recommend the use of our ‘1 Cup of Perfect Tea’
measuring spoon for best
More antioxidants are extracted from tea (L. Camellia Sinesis), or rooibos (Asphalatus Linearis), the longer it is brewed….and
the more tea or rooibos that is used, the greater the antioxidant benefit.
FOOD SAFETY ADVISORY:
While green tea is traditionally brewed using 180°F/82°C water, 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.
Ideal Brewing Temperature: 100ºC/212ºF.
Minimum Brewing Temperature: 90ºC/194ºF.