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Dark Brick Tea (heavily compressed Anhua Dark Tea)

Dark Brick Tea

Dark Brick Tea (黑砖茶) is the most heavily compressed variation of Anhua Dark Tea. In this post, we will discuss its history, its production, and its taste in comparison with other dark teas from Anhua County.

The origins of Dark Brick Tea

This type of shaping and compressing leaves of Anhua Dark Tea is more recent than Huajuan Tea and Tianjian Tea, its other variations. It is during the end of the 1930s that smoked tea leaves from Anhua County were first compressed into rectangular bricks. The concept was borrowed from neighbouring Hubei Province’s Green Brick (青砖).  At a time when transportation was being disrupted by the beginnings of World War II in Asia, this was considered to be the easiest way to carry this type of tea.

Because it is an essential part of the diet of people living quite far away from Anhua County, Anhua Dark Tea’s various shapes have always been influenced by its means of transportation. Dark Bricks are relatively thin (a couple of centimeters) and usually have symbols and characters directly molded onto them.

The taste of Dark Brick Tea

like all variations of Anhua Dark Tea, it is made with smoked and fermented leaves from Anhua County. Its taste does not have the vegetal influence that Huajuan Tea gets from its wrapping. The heavy compression makes it acquire a sweet mellowness over time.

Dark Brick Teas are produced with different grades of tea leaves. This has a significative influence on the taste of  the final product. Some artisanally produced dark bricks are made with top quality material and are a real delicacy.

Not to be confused with other brick teas

There are other types of brick shaped teas, made in different places with different processing techniques:

  • Fu Tea is usually also made with leaves from Anhua. However its compression is much more loose and the quality of the material used is lower. It is made to develop “golden flowers”. This is not desired in other teas, because it destroys the leaves.
  • Green Brick is made in Hubei Province with leaves that have not been smoked.
  • Some variations of Tibetan Tea, produced in Sichuan province have the size of thicker bricks.
  • Pu’er Tea can also be produced in the shape of bricks.

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