This subject is familiar to most related to
The common understanding is that this form is related to ease of transport from condensing the size. Teas from Yunnan could be shipped across the Tea Horse Road to all sorts of regional destinations; once processed to be easier to ship, distribute, and later store (with further reading about the modern forms of that history here). Same for Hunan brick teas, and at some point the same compression process was also applied to
More recently, compressed black teas and others have become somewhat fashionable. Why press these, though? We’re at the stage now where modern packaging solutions can cover a lot of the same functional concerns with the tea still in loose form. Pu’er needs air contact to ferment (to change over time) and to some extent that could apply to other tea types as well, even though the same storage approach and concerns are most typically only extended to white teas. Compression isn’t essential for aging but it does work well to store teas in that form and it helps to moderate the level of air contact at a suitable level.
Cakes of other tea types seem cool; that’s a good reason. To a limited extent the reshaping could also change tea character slightly, it seems: So there’s a functional aspect. For other teas “designed” for storage and aging, it still makes sense on that first level. Most recently I’ve tried two versions of this approach applied to tisanes (herbs and fruit), which I’ll cover at the end.
Shou Mei (White Tea) or Other White Teas Pressed In Different Shapes
Really, this form is common enough
Hunan Region / Fu Brick Teas
These seem kind of standard too; potentially very pleasant, flavorful, and typically relatively inexpensive compressed teas that are distinct in character from sheng and
Then again I’ve not really tried
…The genus Aspergillus is a group of filamentous fungi
consistof more than 250 species, which is the most economically important of the fungal genera. Many species of Aspergillus are used in biotechnology for the production of various metabolites, such as antibiotics, organic acids, medicines or enzymes, or as agents in many food fermentations. The fungal genus Eurotium, which is the teleomorph of Aspergillus, has been proved to be a rich source of novel bioactive metabolites.
…species formerly included in the genus Eurotium [a yellow-flowers related reference] are displayed with their Aspergillus name.. it is considered to be safe under low- and high-osmolarity conditions…
The typical hearsay account is that the various types of fungus are generally good for you rather than potentially harmful; not exactly confirmed in that research article passage but to a limited extent supported by it.
To be continued in tomorrow’s post Compressed Teas and Tisanes Beyond Pu’er – Page 2
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