1990 Black Lodge Fuzhuan Brick (黑祠堂茯磚, Hēi Cí Táng Fú Zhuān, "Black Sacrificial Hall Fu Brick") - The oldest Heicha we currently carry, a legacy brick produced by the Xiang Lu Shan tea factory of Anhua, Hunan in 1990. The Xiang Lu Shan factory has been owned by the Lu family since the 1970's and these hand-pressed bricks were produced by them using traditional wooden molds, and have remained in their possession the entire time. The advanced age of this brick in the humid environment of Anhua has resulted in substantial fermentation, resulting in a soft, visibly decomposed brick with a rich, smooth, and intense flavor. This is presently one of the most exceptional teas we have available, notable not only for its age but for the immaculate quality of the starting material, the process, and storage. The tea possesses no off-flavors or "Chinese medicine" odors that can result from careless storage or changing hands frequently, which can expose a tea to undesirable smells. It produces a dozen or more deep, black infusions with an earthy sweetness and the kind of complexity that can only result from time and proper storage. The tea itself is somewhat diffuse due to the natural breakdown of the leaves as they ferment, but the flavor and depth is a textbook illustration of the effects of long, slow fermentation on the quality of a tea, and why aged tea is so highly valued.