This is actually a re-post of a fun blog I did in 2011, near when Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland released. Given that I’m still celebrating the re-release of the story as A Heart’s Revolution, I thought it would be fun to share this again!
Back in 2011, a friend of mine from Colonial Quills made mention of “brick tea.” Now, I had no idea what in the world she was talking about. Until this arrived in the mail:
The moment I withdrew this brick from its bag, the scent of tea wafted up to me. My daughter, who runs to the kitchen the moment she senses a package being opened, rushed out just then, saw the brown-paper-wrapped block, and said, “What’s that?” My answer was to hold it out and say, “Smell.”
You should have seen her eyes light up with delight and disbelief as she squealed, “Tea?!”
Tea has been a staple of many societies for centuries. But loose leaf tea is hard to transport, so back in the days of the silk road in Asia, the Chinese discovered that if they use forms to press the tea into standard sized bricks, they can transport them with ease, and the tea lasts through the journey.
This became such a standard that tea bricks could be used as currency, and this was the way most tea was transported for hundreds of years, all the way into the 19th century. So the tea tossed into Boston Harbor during the Boston tea party? That was bricks.
Naturally, when something is used so long, for so many purposes, there comes to be a rhyme and reason to each part of it.
I don’t know if you can read the label on this, but if you do, you’ll find its “translation”–what each part of it means.
The front of this particular brick has details that let buyers know that this tea comes from a company managed by more than one person, and is manufactured by Enterprise Company Tea and the Chinese Lee family.
The back of the brick is separated into squares that can be used as currency. One square, for instance, might equal the price of a chicken
In addition to being brewed, the tea traditionally pressed into bricks can also be eaten. I don’t intend to try that, gotta say. 😉
Grand Pu'erh tea Brick 250g Ripe Shu Menghai tea
I thought at the time that I’d be eager to try some of this tea . . . but in actuality, I couldn’t bring myself to break it apart! Instead, it still sits wrapped up, on display on my hutch. Perhaps if I ever buy another, I’ll actually use one of them. But for now, this lovely brick of tea remains a pretty, fragrant reminder of my friend, of history, and of when my first Colonial story first released.
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