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Brick Tea and a Sage of Tea Culture, Lu Yû

Brick tea is sometimes used to mean the tea of Tang Dynasty China (618 – 907). However the fundamental meaning is tea that has been steamed, molded into a block, and dried for preservation. This kind of tea is still drunk in some parts of the world, for example Mongolia and Tibet.

Brick tea was very popular in Tang China, so much so that Lu Yû completed the first book on tea, Cha Ching. According to this book, tea should be made by roasting a tea brick, then grinding it into powder and boiling it in water. Even after the Tang dynasty was overthrown, people continued to drink brick tea, but started to whisk it. The taste was very different from the green powdered tea that we think of in Japan.

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