2 Ways To Make Dark Brick Tea: Steeping & Boiling
Besides pu erh tea, other kinds of dark teas such as Anhua dark tea, are less known outside of China. We believe it requires special attention when it comes to preparing this tea, due its special production method and tight compression. In this guide, we'll introduce you two ways to steep dark brick teas.
Boiling Dark Brick Tea
Dark teas, such as Anhua Hei Cha, are often compressed more tightly than other dark teas like pu erh. By boiling such tea, they loosen up faster. Don't worry about any bitter taste. This kind of tea has undergone pile fermentation resulting in a very smooth and non-bitter tea, even if it's boiled. Here are the steps:
- Put brick tea pieces and water in cookware (e.g. pan or iron tea kettle) at a ratio of 1:40.
- Bring the water to a boil. Once it's boiling, you can turn off the heat.
- Strain out the leaves and serve the tea. If you pursue a stronger and more full-bodied taste, leave it for a few minutes after the heat is turned off.
If you aren't familiar with dark tea yet, a good starting point is by considering our Anhua Dark Tea Sampler consisting of pre-cut chunks of 3 different dark teas (Hei Zhuan, Hua Zhuan, Fu Zhuan).
Steeping Dark Brick Tea
- Put brick tea pieces and hot water (at 100ºC) into a teapot or a gaiwan at a ratio of 1:20.
- Wait for 1.5 minutes to rinse and awaken the tea chunks (for loose leaf dark tea, 30 seconds will be enough). Discard this brew into a pitcher.
- Add hot water again and cover the teapot with a lid. Now pour the content of the pitcher over the teapot to improve heat retention (obviously, you can't do this when using a gaiwan).
- Steep for 2 minutes and then it’s ready to enjoy. You may adjust the steeping time based on your personal preferences. The fun part of dark brick teas is that shorter steeping times will result in citrus and lemongrass notes, while longer steeping times will make the tea taste more nutty, woody with hints of ripe fruit.
- For the 2nd and 3rd brew, still apply a 2 minute steeping time. You'll find that these two brews are darker compared to the first brew (as the tea has fully loosened up). After the third brew, you can gradually increase the steeping time, to fully extract the rest of the flavor out of the leaves.
Variation: Add Chrysanthemum flowers
Add some chrysanthemum flowers when steeping the tea for a harmonious taste! You may do this right from the beginning, or add the flowers after the third brew. The latter method will allow to taste the pure flavor of dark tea first, and then once the flavor starts to wear off, you reactive the taste by adding the flowers.
The infusion can be served both hot and chilled.