Shape of Puer Tea< Return
Tea Cake (茶餅)
It refers to a kind of compressed tea which has a round disc shape. The traditional size of a tea cake is around 19 to 20 cm diameter. Traditionally, a Puer tea cake weighs 357g per piece. Seven pieces of tea cakes grouping together forms a stack and putting 12 stacks together in a bamboo basket or a cardboard box will form a traditional Puer tea trading unit (84 pieces in a basket or cardboard box). The traditional trading unit consisting of 84 tea cakes weights 29.988kg which almost perfectly equals to 30kg. Owing to modern manufacturing and the demands from the market. Puer tea cakes are no longer having only the 357g standard. A Puer tea cake can be 25g, 50g, 100g, 125g, 145g, 150g, 200g, 250g, 300g, 357g, 360g, 375g, 380g, 400g, 440g, 480g, 500g, 1000g, 1.5kg, 2.5kg, 3kg per piece. etc, or whatever weight tea vendors want. These round disc shape tea cakes can be further divided into 2 categories, round tea cake or discus tea cake. In recent years, compressed tea has been so hot that manufacturers of other kinds of tea trying to catch up with this vogue. It is interesting that Wuyi Emperor Tea( Da Hong pao“大紅袍”) also has its compressed tea cake shape.
See also “round tea cake”, “discus tea cake” and “Yunnan seven- son Tea Cake”.
Yuen Bao Tea (元寶茶)
Songpin Hao Red Trademark
See"Yunnan Seven-son Tea cake
It has 2 meanings:
1. It was an ancient name of Seven-son Tea Cake;
2. It means golden-ingot shaped tea.
Chinese words “Yuen Bao” literally means “golden-ingot”. In the ancient China, Yunnan Seven-son Tea Cakes were called Yuen Bao Tea. It is believed that there were 2 origins of this name. First, owing to the poor transportation in the old days, Yunnan with its geographical location next to other Asia countries was regarded as a far and remote place away from the central China. Therefore, apart from the official currency of Qing Dynasty (清朝) local people also accepted trading by swapping commodities. As the shape of a tea cake was like a large coin and it serve the purpose of currency to exchange for goods such as rice and cloth. Since “Yuen Bao" was the official currency in Qing Dynasty, it was not surprised that tea cakes were named as Yuen Bao Tea in Qing Dynasty.
The second origin of the name was that the shape of stone mold for compressing tea cakes was like a "golden-ingot" so that the tea it compressed was called Yuen Bao Tea accordingly.
See also “Round Tea cake” and “Yunnan Seven-son Tea Cake”.
Round Tea Cake (圓茶)
In the old days, tea vendors sold the Red Mark in Hong Kong simply calling it as the Zhongcha Brand Round Tea Cake because the printing at the bottom of the wrapping paper, reading from right to left, stated the name of the tea cake, “Zhongcha Pai Yuanchao (中茶牌圆茶)”. “Yuancha” means round tea cake. Generally speaking, a round tea cake refers to the tea cake having a dome-shaped hollow on the back of it. It also has its round edge. These are the characteristics of a normal tea cake.
See also “Yunnan Seven-son Tea Cake”, “Tea Cake” and “Discus Tea Cake”.
Discus Tea Cake (鐵餅茶)
It is one of the tea cake shapes available in the market. A discus tea cake is compressed by a special metallic mold. The raw tea leaf materials are putting directly into the mold without using any linen bag. The holes at the bottom of the mold is designed for allowing the hot steam passing though in order to soften the raw materials. Once the tea leaves are soften, they will be compressed into a discus tea cake. Because of the shape of the mold, a discus tea cake has its straight edge. It has no dome shaped hollow but nails on the back of the tea cake. The nails are the result from the strong compression after the tea leaves being squeezed to the holes of the mold by great pressure. Different metallic molds have different sequence of the holes so that sometimes the shapes and layout of the nails can help identifying the year of production of a discus tea cake.
See also “Yunnan Seven-son Tea Cake”, “Tea Cake” and “Round Tea Cake”.
Iron Tea Cake (鐵餅茶)
See “Discus Tea cake”. This is an inappropriate translation. This translation is purely a literal translation from its Chinese popular name without reflecting the nature of a discus tea cake. In Chinese, when a tea cake is so hard that it is not easy to break tea connoisseur will call it as "Tie Bing (鐵餅)”. The Chinese character “Tie(鐵)” literally means “iron” and the Chinese character “Bing(餅)” literally means cake. Therefore, some translators translate the “Tie Bing (鐵餅)” as “iron cake” which is conceptually wrong. In fact, characters “Tie Bing (餅)” combining together in Chinese refers to the discus playing in sport fields. The discus for sports refers to a heavy circular object thrown in a sporting event. Chinese people understand in their language that when describing these tea cakes as “Tie Bings(鐵饼)”, there is nothing connected to “iron” except the hardness of iron, The appropriate translation with regard to the underline meaning of “Tie Bing(鐵餅)”, discus tea cake should be adopted.
See also “Discus Tea Cake” and “Round Tea cake”.
Iron Cake (鐵餅)
See “Iron Tea Cake”. Abbreviation of Iron Tea cake. This is an inappropriate translation.
Tea Brick (茶磚)
It refers to a kind of compressed tea which has a brick shape. There are two common shapes of the tea brick, rectangular or square. The traditional size of a rectangular tea brick is 14.5cm(L)X 10cm(W)x 2cm(H)cm having a standard net weight 250g. It believed that the tea brick was evolved from the Maidens' Tea. The earliest tea brick discovered so far in the market is the Keyixing Tea Brick (可以興磚) from the 1940s. Tea bricks are traditionally sold to Tibet and areas near the frontier of China Owing to modern manufacturing and the demands from the market, Puer tea bricks are no longer having only the 250g standard. A Puer tea brick can be 50g, 100g, 150g, 200g, 250g, 300g, 500g, 1000g, 1.5kg, 2kg, 2.5kg, 3kg, etc, or whatever weight tea vendors want.
See also “Tea Cake”
Four Joys Tea Brick (四喜磚茶)
It refers to a kind of compressed tea which is usually sold in a package box consisting of 4 square tea bricks on which auspicious Chinese characters are compressed. In traditional Chinese culture, people always love to give presents to their relatives and friends with great fortune. Chinese words Fu, Lu, Shou, Xi (福祿壽禧)” approximately means “Happiness, Prosperity, Longevity and Auspiciousness” by each character respectively, collectively called “Four Joys (四喜)”. Chinese people are of the view that having these four elements in one's life will be the most plentiful life. Therefore, the tea bricks compressed with these Chinese characters will be a great present to their friends and relatives. Each tea brick standardizes at 250g. A complete set of Four Joys Tea Brick consists of 4 tea bricks weighted 250g each and each tea brick has a Chinese character. Four tea bricks putting together will form “Fu, Lu, Shou, Xi (福祿壽禧)”. A package of Four Joys Tea Brick is therefore normally a I kg package. Some tea factories also manufacture 500g each. Four joys Tea Brick and packing them into a 2 kg package.
See also “Tea Brick” and “Square Tea Brick”.
Square Tea Brick (方茶)
It refers to a kind of compressed tea which has a square brick shape. There are 2 traditional net weight standard of square tea bricks 100g and 250g. Owing to modern manufacturing and the demands from the market, square Puer tea bricks are no longer having only the 100g and 250g standard. It can be 150g, 500g, 1000g, 2kg etc or whatever weight tea vendors want
See also “Tea Brick”.
Bowl Tea (沱茶)
It refers to a kind of compressed tea which has a dome bowl shape. a bowl tea has a deep hollow at the bottom after compression. The purpose of having such hollow is to let the water trapped during the process of steaming and compression to evaporate. Without that deep hollow, it is hazardous for this shape of compressed tea because the water contents trapped inside will cause deterioration. Traditionally, the standard net weights of bowl tea are 100g and 250g. Owing to modern manufacturing and the demands from the market, bowl tea is no longer having only the 100g and 250g standard weights. It can be 150g, 500g,1000g, 2kg, etc. or whatever weight tea vendors want.
See also “Maidens’ Tea”
Tuo Cha (沱茶)
See “Bowl Tea” Phonetic transcription of a bowl tea
Maidens’ Tea (姑娘茶)
It has 2 meanings：
1. It was the ancient name and prototype of bowl tea. It is believed that the bowl tea came from a kind of ball tea invented by the tea picking maidens. Therefore, it was called “Maidens' Tea”. There was a tale that when the tea plucking maidens needed money to prepare for the gift of marriage, they would gather a small amount of tea leaves secretly whenever they went out to pick tea. They pressed the tea leaves into a ball shape and hid it under their clothes. Once they had gathered enough quantities of these ball-shaped tea, they would sell them in the open market for money. In the modern days, the ball shape tea has been transformed into the dome-shaped bowl tea.
2. It is an alternative name for Mushroom-shaped Tea in the old days. For example, the 1930’s Dingxing Mushroom-shaped Tea was traditionally called Maidens’ Tea.
See also “Bowl Tea” and “Mushroom-Shaped Tea”.
Mushroon-shaped Tea (蘑菇茶)
It refers to a kind of compressed tea which has a mushroom shape. This kind of compressed shape developed from the Maidens' Tea. Because of its funny shape having a short stem, this allows spaces between each piece of tea. These spaces are good for aging and ventilation. However, on the other hand, this shape of tea also wastes the storing space. See also “Maidens Tea”
Heart-shaped Tea (心臟型茶)
See “Mushroom-shaped Tea”. Alternative name for Mushroom-shaped Tea
Tight Tea (緊茶)
See “Mushroom Shaped Tea". Ancient and alternative name for a mushroom-shaped tea.
Golden-ingot Tea (元寶型茶)
It refers to a kind of compressed tea which has a golden-ingot shape. This is not a traditional shape of compressed Puer tea. The shape of golden-ingot tea has only been seen in the past 20 years. In Chinese culture, a golden-ingot represents wealth. In Chinese New Year, Chinese people use golden-ingot to express their good wishes to their relatives and friends. It is a collectible item more than a compressed tea for appreciation.
See also “Yuen Bao Tea”.
Golden Melon Tea (金瓜茶)
It refers to a kind of compressed tea which has a melon shape, In order to make the compressed Puer with a more attractive outlook, tea factories may manufacture pumpkin-shaped stuff, which people often call it as “Golden Melon Tea” bearing he meaning of wealth. It has similar shape to bowl tea but having veins on the surface after compression. Normally, Golden Melon Tea also has that deep hollow at the bottom for water evaporation. Without that deep hollow, it is hazardous to this bulky compressed stuff because the water contents trapped inside will cause deterioration.
See also “Bowl Tea”
Mini-tea Cake (小茶餅)
It is a small size edition of round tea cake. It has all the characters of a normal size round tea cake such as a round edge, and a hollow, except or its size and weight. Normally, the
standard weight of a mini-tea cake is 100 each. Wrapping up 10 pieces of mini-tea cakes will form a 1kg package for easy calculation. Owing to modern manufacturing and the demands from the market, a mini-tea cakes Is no longer having only the 100g standard weight. It can be 25g, 50g, 125g, 145g, 200g etc. or whatever weight tea vendors want. Normally, people will only name a tea cake with net weight under 200g as a mini-tea cake.
See also “Round Tea Cake” and "Mini-discus Tea Cake”
Mini-discus Tea Cake (小鐵餅)
It’s a small size edition of discus tea cake. It has all the characters of a normal size discus tea cake, except for its size, such as straight edge, nails and no hollow normally, the standard weight of a minl-discus tea cake is 125g each. Wrapping up 4 pieces of mini-discus tea cake will form a 500g package for easy calculation.
See also “Discus Tea cake” and “Mini Tea Cake”.
Loose-leaf Puer Tea (普洱散茶)
It refers to those puer tea leaves not being compressed, i.e., non-compressed Puer tea. A part from compressed tea cakes, tea bricks and bowl tea, etc. loose-leaf Puer is also one of the most popular and common forms of Puer tea. Loose-leaf Puer tea is more convenient for easy brewing because it does not require the breaking process. However the draw back of loose-leaf Puer tea is that it occupies more spaces. Owing to the spaces in between the tea leaves, external pressure may crack the tea leaves into fragments easily. Since it is not compressed, a container is required for storing these loose-leaf Puer in a long terms. Therefore, it is not an ideal form for long term hoarding and collections.
See also “Compressed Tea”.
Loose-leaf Tea (散茶)
See “Loose-leaf Puer Tea”
It has 2 meanings:
1. It generally refers to the status of those tea other than compressed Puer such as jasmine tea, oolong tea, green tea and black tea. All of these teas are non-compressed.
2. It is the abbreviation of loose-leaf puer tea which means the Puer tea in its non-compressed form.
Compressed Tea (緊壓茶)
It refers to the teas other than all the loose-leaf teas. The tea leaves are compressed together by a stone mold or a metallic mold such as tea cakes. tea bricks, bowl tea and mushroom-shaped tea, etc. It also refers to the teas being directly compressed into a basket or a bamboo such as Liu-an tea Liu-bao tea and bamboo tea, etc. Therefore, compressed tea is not limited to Puer tea from Yunnan. Other provinces also have compressed tea The Liu-an tea from Anhui (安徽) province and lit- bao tea from Guangxi (廣西). Autonomous Region are good examples of compressed teas other than Yunnan Puer Tea. In recent years, compressed tea has been so hot that manufacturers of other kinds of tea trying to catch up with this vogue. It is interesting that Wuyi Emperor Tea (Da Hong Pao “大紅袍”) also has its compressed tea cake shape.
See also Loose-leaf Puer Tea .
Dome-shaped Hollow (窩底)
It is the remaining hole in the center on the back of a round tea cake after it was compressed. After the raw tea leaf materials are softened by steam and transferred into a linen bag, tea worker has to twist the end of the bag so as to make sure the tea leaves do not fall out from the bag before they put it into the molding machine for compression. The hollow comes from the twisted end of the linen bag being compressed into the tea leaves during the compression.
See also "Round Tea Cake”
See “Dome-shaped Hollow”. Abbreviation name of dome-shaped hollow.
The nails appear on the back of a discus tea cake. The nails are the result from the strong compression after the tea leaves being squeezed to the holes of the metallic mold by great pressure. This is the shape fixed after the steaming and compression process. This is a unique feature to the discus tea cake.
Straight Edge (直邊)
It refers to the edge of a discus tea cake which is sharp and straight. The straight edge is the result from the shape of the metallic mold after compression.
See also “Discus Tea Cake”
Round Edge (圓邊)
It refers to the round edge of a general round tea cake. The round edge is the result from the shape of the stone mold or metallic mold after compression.
See also “Round Tea Cake”