Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tea Jelly Brick

Today I'm drinking an interesting cup of puer tea that Cinnabar and I currently have for sale at Phoenix Tea. It is called Cha Gao (茶膏), which can be translated as tea-gel, tea-jelly, or even, tea-ointment. It is a decoction made by condensing brewed puer tea until it is possible to form a hard brick.

The brick itself looks a little bit like obsidian and can be broken easily into glassy shards. To brew the tea I dissolved a few tiny shards into about 8 ounce of boiling water.

That's all the tea I used:

The resulting tea has a nice color and a curious earthy, mushroom-like, shu puer (熟普洱) aroma. This heady redolence is both alluring and intimidating.

I sip cautiously. To my relief the liquor is pleasant. It has a nice syrupy sweetness and a subtle plum note. For the amount of gel I used the the tea is medium bodied. Next time I'll add a few more tiny shards... but I'm sure it will get too intense if I used too much. The mushroom smell remained, but it didn't present itself in the mouth. Given the option I'd probably prefer a normal "leaf" tea but I do like the Tea Jelly Brick, and can see myself drinking it from time to time.

1 comment:

Alex Zorach said...

This looks interesting, but it neither looks nor sounds super appealing to me.