2017 Chocolate Flower Dragon Brick 巧克力花龍磚 Qiǎokèlì huā lóng zhuān We’re extremely excited to offer this smoked, fermented heicha brick whose fanciful-seeming name actually makes perfect sense:
Chocolate refers to the shape of the brick, which is designed like a chocolate bar to allow for easy portioning
Flower refers to the grade of tea used - the second grade of Anhua Heicha, below Tian Jian but before Hei Zhuan/Black Brick, is traditionally dedicated to the production of pillars of tea wrapped in woven bamboo traditionally called Hua Juan 花卷 Huājuǎn “Flower Roll”, but in modern times is frequently processed into smaller bricks called 花磚 Huāzhuān, meaning Flower Brick. Flower Bricks are sometimes smoked with pine wood after pressing, as is the case with this one.
Dragon is the name of the brick. This tea was grown in a region called 九龍池
Jiǔlóng chí (Lóngchí), and is therefore called “Dragon Brick”. Technically we could have just translated the name and called it “Dragon Brick”, but this is a somewhat common name for tea bricks, and this tea is anything but common.
As for the tea itself, it is a unique and outstanding Heicha (fermented tea) from Anhua, Hunan. A single section (roughly 6 grams) expands to be an abundant pot of surprisingly-whole tea leaves over the course of 12-15 steepings. It has a pronounced, but not overwhelming, smoky fragrance. It starts off crisp and sweet with a golden liquor, turning dark and earthy as soon as the leaves open. Overall a very complex tea whose nuances play beautifully with the pine smoke. Available by the square, the line, or the brick.
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I ordered a small one-square sample. This compressed little tea nugget carries a pleasant, aromatic, and comforting aroma. The color is an umbra (dark shadow); it catfishes you into thinking it's light and sweet but slowly lets you taste a relaxing, darker side. I enjoyed sharing Flower Dragon with my lover and vinyl in our home as an inside-date night. 11/10 recommend
This was by far the most exquisite black tea I've ever had. It tasted vaguely funky at times, but mostly it just tasted like burning wood in a fire. Smokey, earthy, and overall really really good. To be honest, it tastes more accurately like how really black soil smells, but that sounds unappetizing. It's really good!