What is the best practice when dealing with a twenty plus year old piece of cake that has become fused together so that even the knife will not break it. Is it important to have the leaves separated as much as possible before the first infusion or can I just put a chunk of fused cake in the pot and let the water soften it apart.
I ask because it would seem that the parts of the chunk on the inside would not fully benefit from the initial rinse of the first throw away infusion. That said breaking the cake up by force could destroy the structure... And might be bad too.
What do you do?
One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.
Break it up as much as possible. You are most likely not going to get an old tuocha or tai bing Back to individual leaves. Cloud has a good article on brewing ratios that should help. Let me see if I can dig it up.