Jan 20th, '12, 13:44
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Compressed India tea? compress it myself?

by piano » Jan 20th, '12, 13:44

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?

Thanks kindly.

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! ;)

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Jan 20th, '12, 14:30
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Re: Compressed India tea? compress it myself?

by Lerxst2112 » Jan 20th, '12, 14:30

Props on trekking across the Congo! What an experience!

It would seem that you're looking for portability. I haven't the first clue on how to press your own cakes, or if even such a thing is possible. The only 'cake' form of tea I've been exposed to are the Pu-erh teas - which, yes, are meant to be drunk straight up. It's a strange tea at first, but I fell in love with it immediately.

Try a site called Imperial Tea Garden. They have tea that comes in tins, foil bags, etc... and look like they're pretty portable. Since you're used to what is called HongCha (red teas) like Earl Grey, etc, maybe you would want to start there? They are under the 'Ceylon' section. Moving over to the 'Indian' section, there are the assams and such which is sometimes used in the 'breakfast blends'. If you like green tea, and don't want to brew leaves - there is a form of powdered green tea called Matcha, and it comes in foil bags as well.

Not sure how much any of this helps. *shrugs* Good luck with things, and welcome to the site. =)
- Jess K.

Jan 20th, '12, 14:46
Posts: 1280
Joined: May 9th, '09, 15:59

Re: Compressed India tea? compress it myself?

by shah82 » Jan 20th, '12, 14:46

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/pro ... oduct=1933

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/pro ... oduct=1898

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/pro ... oduct=1887

These will be similar to Assams, sort-of.

If tea taste is about darjeelings, or Earl Grey, or something like that, then I will tell you up front that the only way to have a lighter taste is to get compressed *sheng* puerh. You want to have a trek through the Congo, better have tea pretty much designed for nutrition and durability in adverse traveling. Sheng puerh is very diverse in taste, so go to places that specialize in sheng, and sample until happy. I suggest '07 Mengku Muyechun 001/002 if you want something lighter...

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Jan 22nd, '12, 15:45
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Re: Compressed India tea? compress it myself?

by bearsbearsbears » Jan 22nd, '12, 15:45

Feb 10th, '12, 01:12
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Re: Compressed India tea? compress it myself?

by mbanu » Feb 10th, '12, 01:12

You can get Assam tea dust. This is very compact, but messy, and often low quality. A better option might be to go with Assam Crush-Tear-Curl (Assam CTC) tea. This is tea that has been minced into tiny pellets. Still quite compact, makes a perfect cup of English tea to go with milk. The Assam will be more like Tetley.

However, if English Breakfast is your favorite, then you are probably a Keemun fan. This is actually a Chinese tea, but is quite popular in England. Keemun fannings would probably be the most compact form easily available. (This is basically what goes inside a tea bag, but without the tea bag).

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Feb 11th, '12, 00:08
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Re: Compressed India tea? compress it myself?

by BioHorn » Feb 11th, '12, 00:08

Sounds like quite an adventure. Best of luck and keep posting!
I have some of these tea powder disks. Have yet to use them...but they are quite light.
http://www.teahabitat.com/store/index.p ... ex&cPath=6

Another idea would be to use puerh paste:

http://teaurchin.blogspot.com/2011/10/c ... -puer.html

Meant to post this weeks ago. Hopefully it will still be of some use!


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