Fuzhuan tea goes by a few different names, including fu tea and fu brick. It’s a type of fermented tea that hails largely from Hunan Province and Sichuan Province near Ya’An. It’s similar to Pu’er tea, but with slight differences in how it’s made. Pu’er is traditionally fermented in loose leaf form. Fuzhuan, however, is first compressed into a brick shape, and then left to ferment.
Fuzhuan has a mild sweetness, along with flavors of wood, straw, and herbs. The length of time that it’s aged will impact the depth and richness of flavor. The aging process usually imparts a slight sugariness to the tea, giving it notes of dried fig and candied plum. Aged tea creates a dark liquor when infused and the aftertaste lingers much longer on the tongue while creating a thicker and fuller mouthfeel.
Tea drinkers across Asia have developed a taste for Fuzhuan, and its popularity is growing. It is popular in Taiwan, Tibet, and Mongolia. The tea is available in bricks of varying sizes. Oftentimes, the size of the brick will give an indication as to the quality of the tea—larger bricks are generally cheaper and considered lower quality. The sizes range from a low of just a couple of hundred grams to around 2 kg. Regardless of the size and apparent quality, Fuzhuan tea is always a pleasant and unique experience, serving as a great introduction to fermented tea for new drinkers as well as an exceptional experience for aficionados.