Cakes pressed with visual motives on it

Puerh and other heicha
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Maerskian
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:41 am

I'm sure we're all familiar with tiny shu coins pressed with all kind of motives on it ( on the "coin"/tea itself, not the wrapper ) , same for bricks... but it's not usual ( doesn't feel like it for me at the very least, not on stores targeting western markets ) to find full circular cakes that way.

Was wondering about the leaf quality & types... history behind 'em... for the few i've seen have a particular "shine" on it that reminds me of liu bao or even oolong cakes ( both of 'em also not exactly usual on western-targeted teashops either ) .
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mrmopu
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:43 am

Menghai does the Hong Yun 100 grammers with the Menghai symbol pressed in. XiaGuan also does cakes with a logo in the beenghole on the back of the cake.
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Bok
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:45 am

À-la-mode method to make customers pay more for less, that’s about it.
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Maerskian
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:25 am

mrmopu wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:43 am
Menghai does the Hong Yun 100 grammers with the Menghai symbol pressed in. XiaGuan also does cakes with a logo in the beenghole on the back of the cake.
Hmmm... now you mention it... forgot to filter my question a little bit :P

I was meaning to ask more precisely about pressed cakes with particular motives like zodiac signs, the usual "year of the ________ " with the animal in question on it .
Bok wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:45 am
À-la-mode method to make customers pay more for less, that’s about it.
I guess similar to boxed cakes or the usual kind with fancy colorfoul wrappers then ?

Still... i wonder what they use to make these "tea cakes" ( and that's the thing, these aren't even sold as sheng/shu ) and why does it look so shiny; the surface is pretty flat but that's probably related to what they use to press the characters/picture on 'em .

Usually look pretty dark, feel more like some kind of hei-cha / low grade shu ( and most probably is... the kind used for tibetan bricks maybe ? ) .

Seemingly unrelated but today i resumed a pending read on Georgian tea history ( recently tasted some really nice wild black georgian tea that prompted me to it ) that lead me to MoyChay's article and then to this:

https://moychay.com/catalog/gruzinskij_ ... kalmytskij

Not as polished as the pressed tea cakes i had in mind but along the line of this conversation
.m.
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:30 am

Lot of those cakes are purely decorative and can contain literally anything. On the other hand, i've heard that some of the old bricks are quite good. Like this one: https://collection.maas.museum/object/363008
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Maerskian
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:29 am

Interesting; thanks for posting that one.

Here's the cake that made me think about it:

Image
Image

450g aprox. not too pricey ( 30€ ) , anyways the seller was open about it mentioning it was the usual "gift tea" you see around in Banna .
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:58 pm

Maerskian wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:29 am
Interesting; thanks for posting that one.

Here's the cake that made me think about it:

Image
Image

450g aprox. not too pricey ( 30€ ) , anyways the seller was open about it mentioning it was the usual "gift tea" you see around in Banna .
Lol. I would stay far away from things like that. The whole thing suggests that the bunny relief was just more important than the tea itself (or whatever it is made of). And the decorative aspect is crass as well...
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Maerskian
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:35 pm

It's a year of the rabbit commerative cake :) , but yes indeed, didn't bother to go for it even though it was a kinda private sale .

Still it makes me wonder... what kind of "material" is this made of O__o
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Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:34 pm

Maerskian wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:35 pm

Still it makes me wonder... what kind of "material" is this made of O__o
It’s Likely made of tea dust/scraps that the teabag industry rejected. Not indented for human consumption so prob contains high levels of toxic pesticides etc and glue/resin.
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wave_code
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Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:12 am

Most cakes like this I'd stay far away from. I do feel like its not so uncommon to see images/markings/designs pressed on to certain types of hei cha cakes- but then you are dealing with much higher compressed tea that also tends to be pretty broken up anyway. I don't know if/when marking bricks like that became a thing- again maybe also was just gimmick and I'm overthinking this, but maybe was a way of marking or trademarking different teas when they would have been in more generic wrappings or produced in the same factory/warehouse for different brands? Also maybe in the case of knock-offs, a wrapper you can reprint pretty easily, but open up the wrapper and look at a cake and if you know what the leaf grade/appearance should be for that cake at that age you might be able to catch a fake sooner. For a hei cha brick that looks like a squished mess anyway I'd have a pretty hard time telling it apart based on the leaf, but making a fake stamper is a much higher level of commitment to producing a fake. Also from the perspective against a nicely made pu cake or some nice well-preserved leaves a lot of hei cha cakes can look pretty ugly and/or like cheap material- maybe the designs were done to improve the appearance/marketability of such bricks?
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