I could give you a brief history of tea, but I won't. I mean, tea goes back thousands of years. I want people to actually read my blog, not post tl/dr in the comments. So I will talk about tea bricks. What is a tea brick? I will tell you.
Tea bricks are bricks of tea. See? It is that easy. Back in the day, before the invention of the modern tea bag (giggle giggle) tea was commonly pressed in molds and pressed into block form. They were left to dry before being used. Interesting note: tea was once used as currency. They bound it with flour, blood, or manure so it could survive transactions. Ew. During the pressing process, companies would include a pretty pretty design on the top.
The bricks were compact and portable which made transport easier. In fact, tea bricks are what the Son's of Liberty threw into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party.
How do Americans brew tea?
Tea bricks can be found today. They are sold as a novel-tea. (See what I did there?) In fact, my friend's bakery, Iron Gate Bakery, sells tea bricks. I bought one for my step dad and he was excited. My mother had no clue as to what it was. I haven't tried the tea, but it smells wonderful. I would keep it around just for the smell.
Here's the thing, though. The tea is compressed tea. It is like a Smartie. It is pressed and pressed and pressed until it is in this heavy brick. Unlike a Smartie, it is thick. The instructions say to “break off a piece.” Yeeeeaaaahhhh.....about that.....most of the websites I went to said to use a tea knife or tea needle to pry the tea loose. That is all fine and dandy if you have the type of tea that looks like a bunch of compressed snakes. But if you have the ground, pressed tea brick, if you try to use a tea needle or knife, you are going to end up in the ER. So use a good ol' chisel and mallet. I'm serious, unless you want to brew the entire brick, which is not a good idea because it would more than likely make you sick since that is a lot of concentrated tea.
On that note, I have the urge to drink some tea. I'm at a coffee shop that has no idea how to brew tea. I'll wait until tomorrow. Also, I don't own the photo. I pulled it off the internet.