Tibetan Tea Zhuan Zang Cha (雅安砖藏茶) is a traditional dark tea from Ya’An in Sichuan Province of China. This region has a long history of producing compressed tea that was traded and used as currency for centuries. These teas are also popular due to associated health benefits and have been consumed by generations as butter tea made with yak butter and salt. This particular Tibetan brick tea comes compressed into 250g blocks encased in bamboo. It was produced in 2017 from tea harvested in April 2017.
This Tibetan Tea Zhuan Zang Cha consists of compressed fermented leaves and stalks. The leaves are not particularly densely compressed, making it easy to break off desired amounts. It also means that the fermentation process continues at a more rapid pace within this brick. The bamboo enclosure makes storing this long term much easier. Even though this tea is relatively young, the fermentation achieved during production makes this drinkable right now. Additional ageing will further improve the flavours.
This tea produces a dark amber liquor with a woody aroma that is similar to that of good woody ripe pu-erh teas. The taste is rather light and thin, with a pleasant woody profile. There are some notes of walnuts that further accentuate the smooth woody taste. This tea has a fresh taste that is somewhere between a ripe pu-erh and a good black tea, making this a very easy to drink tea with an accessible smooth flavour.
We suggest brewing parameters of 90-98°C for 3-5 minutes according to your taste, brewing multiple times. This Tibetan brick tea is forgiving when it comes to brewing so can brewed for longer or with boiling water for a fuller taste. When brewed Gong Fu style we suggest briefly washing the leaves. Traditionally this type of tea is prepared by boiling the tea leaves in a pot of water for hours to make a condensed liquor. It would then be drunk with addition of yak butter and salt, more akin to a soup.