breaking up cakes

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

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Jun 1st 06 7:55 pm
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breaking up cakes

by jogrebe » Jun 1st 06 7:55 pm

When breaking up puerh cakes is there any real advantage to only breaking off smaller amounts good for a few rounds as compared to breaking up the entire cake at once and putting the pieces into a tin for storage?

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Jun 1st 06 11:00 pm
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by Phyll » Jun 1st 06 11:00 pm

Jogrebe, it depends. Breaking up a raw cake into pieces basically will speed up the oxidation process, but putting the pieces in a sealed tin can will do exactly the opposite. It all depends on your intention, so I can't see that it's a disadvantage to do one or the other as long as that's what you intended.

Cooked cake, OTOH, does not change much with aging and further oxidation, so you could do whatever that is more convenient for you, I guess.

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by jogrebe » Jun 2nd 06 12:08 am

Right pretty much all of my cakes except for one are cooked so I figured that it didn't really matter. Although after reading a few tea blogs I discovered that most puerh drinkers (or at least the ones that blog about it) keep their cakes intact and only pry off a little at a time as they use it, which got me wondering if I was missing something.

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by studio271 » Aug 14th 06 2:28 pm

(for the post's preservation's sake)

Now that I have quite a few raw cakes, I can offer input as to why most people will keep their cakes intact. It's all about asthetics.

Unlike a jar full of loose tea, a raw puerh cake is like a pet of mine; the opposite of a pet plant, in that it never grows and will eventually disappear if I give it too much attention. :P

Another reason is that I find the delicate maneuver of prying a piece from one of my cakes (or even individual stem-leaf systems from "wild-tree" cakes) can greatly add to the overall therapeutic value of drinking puerh; I guess it's a form of foreplay for tea drinking? :D

-W3rd

P.S. Something that I think goes unspoken, and I could be wrong, but my results have shown me to be correct; the reason to be careful about prying apart a cake is that a whole leaf will provide better flavor and have less of a chance of becoming bitter after a few brews, as compared to having several of the leaves broken into pieces.

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Aug 23rd 06 2:53 am
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tear off pieces

by lebowitz » Aug 23rd 06 2:53 am

I find that tearing off pieces makes it easier to store, but after about 1/2 way i just smash up the rest and store it in a container, have not tried it with my raw cakes yet.

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by deadfingers » Jan 30th 07 1:56 am

I was wondering about this also, I believe I have one cooked and one raw brick but it makes a mess when I break it up so I use a small bowl to break it up into. I'd rather leave it in the wrapper it came in though so.

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Cloud breaking tea cake

by Salsero » Jan 30th 07 4:06 am

This may not be exactly an answer, but Cloud posted a nice video on YouTube demonstrating how to break a teacake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th86Ge4fFJs

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by Space Samurai » Jan 30th 07 4:19 am

Salsero: That was awesome. I had to break up a pu erh cake at work, and I'd never handled one before; I see now how badly I screwed up. Eh, live and learn.

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Breaking Pu-erh

by hop_goblin » Jan 30th 07 4:21 am

I generally tend to only break off what I am going to use. Just adds to the enjoyment of things for me. Makes me closer to my tea.

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by javyn » Feb 10th 07 4:20 pm

I just got my first Pu-Erh cake, and don't see how anyone can just break off piece by piece....this thing was like a brick! A rubber mallet wouldn't even break it, I had to smash it repeatedly with a metal hammer on concrete covered by layers of paper towel.

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Feb 10th 07 7:13 pm
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Tough Tea

by lebowitz » Feb 10th 07 7:13 pm

I had a really tight Tuo Cha I used big pliers and bore down on it with my entire weight (230lbs).

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by javyn » Feb 11th 07 3:45 am

Yeah mine is Tuo Cha, tough as nails. It's broken up in a tin now.

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by deadfingers » Feb 24th 07 11:57 am

So I figured I could ask this here. Ok so I broke up my raw puerh brick into a smaller box. I cut it up into pieces, but not into loose form (as in you can scoop it up). I use a few pieces into a cup and drink. So I'm wondering, would it make much difference if I make it smaller and into loose leaf form? I have a few more bricks headed my way and as much as I'd like to keep them in their native form I'd rather store them for easier use when I make them. Oh and I was also wondering, would it make a difference in taste if I drank tea made from pieces (small chunks) rather than loose leaf (fully cut up and pure leaves)? I am drinking puerh made from chunks but I'm wondering if I am missing out on flavor because some of the leaves don't fully unfurl due to being pressed together.

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Feb 24th 07 3:09 pm
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small pieces

by lebowitz » Feb 24th 07 3:09 pm

I find they come apart after 1st steeping. Breaking up into small pieces sometimes makes it more bitter.