I am going on a trip in a third-world country where I might not be able to get tea on a regular basis. 6-8 weeks to bicycle across DR Congo. Sometimes I'm going to be roughing it outdoors, or might just want to stop en route to enjoy the scenery over a cup of tea. So I plan to carry 2 months' worth. (Once I get to Rwanda, though, I'll be in tea (and coffee) country )
Now, on a bicycle space is fairly limited. I recently stopped in at a tea specialty shop to inquire about the most compact form of tea. It turns out tea comes in bricks. Some of them are very ornate and beautiful.
It also turns out that what I like to drink on a daily basis is called 'India tea' and the only type that comes in bricks is called 'China tea', and mainly of a variety called 'Pu-Erh'. Apparently this isn't the sort you mix with milk and sugar. I tried the Pu-Erh while I was there, just to see what my options were, and it's not really my cup of tea (I bet you tea-heads get that joke a lot...). I'm sure you acquire a taste for it, and I have to say that by the end of the cup I enjoyed it more than at the beginning, and that it also had a very relaxing effect - but it's not what I'm after.
I'd like to get your average tea (I'm talking basic, "just tea" sort of tea -- in my cupboard I've got some Tetley tea bags, Twinings English Breakfast, and some fancier loose English Breakfast and Afternnon teas from Murchies (as well as a few green and herbal teas)) ............ but in a compressed format.
Does anyone know if this is available from some obscure source?
Alternatively, I thought I might just do it myself. I was looking up how they make tea into bricks. A rough outline of how they do it is they steam it and then compress it and then let it dry. I couldn't find much in the way of a detailed process, though, or the equipment involved. Anyone here have experience with this? Suggestions for resources and information?
PS) Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and enjoy all sorts of teas and love learning new things about tea. I'm just looking for a particular kind - "ordinary" tea - Not sure what else you call it. Please excuse if I come across sounding ignorant!