Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tea Session - 1970s Fuzhuan Brick (People’s Unification Tea)

Making inroads into this hefty 1970s Fu brick (3kg) reveals a higher concentration of Golden Flowers (aka Jin Hua). This mold is responsible for giving Fu tea much of its unique character.

The 1970s Fuzhuan Brick (People’s Unification Tea) is a historic tea from China’s past and represents a time period under Chairman Mao and the early reform of Communism. Drinking this tea is like reminiscing a past era. The basic packaging of the tea brick combined with the rough and broken leaves inside conveys a period of hardship and poverty that affected many Chinese. The character of the tea is not complex, being outwardly soft but revealing an underlying strength in the brew. There is a calm and soothing energy in the brew that gently seeps into the body and restores the tired and tense muscles. The tea tells us a story of the struggles of China's working class. In the face of adversity the strength and beauty in the heart of the common man shines brightly as he strives for his survival and a better tomorrow. His will forged into iron through the fires of pain and suffering taught him to hold high the values of pursuing practical and meaningful results whilst being economical with the precious resources available in a time of scarcity and insecurity.

I am very fond of this tea and the reflections it brings. To get the most from this tea requires following a basic preparation. The Fu brick consists of small broken tea leaves that are covered in dusts of mold and spores that are tightly packed together. To attain good clarity of the brew the clumps of leaves need to be broken into small pieces and rinsed twice for a thorough wash. A teabag is helpful to contain the small leaves. The key to brewing and getting the utmost from these dry and shriveled age leaves rests in using hot boiling water and being able to maintain a high temperature during steeps. This makes preheating the brewing vessel and using a thick wall teapot ideal for brewing old tea. Both Gongfu brewing and the more easy style of Grandpa long steeps work well for this tea with each method having their points of advantage.

Click to see more on
1970s Fuzhuan Brick (People’s Unification Tea)
Chairman Mao's Era Part 1 and Part 2

Old tea leaves become more dry and hardened with time. If the steeping of the tea does not penetrate deep into the layers of the age leaves the brew will be weak and flat.

A well executed steep will give a smooth, flavorful brew showing depth and substance of character.

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