There was a time when tea was elevated to an art form....not sold in nondescript boxes in grocery stores.
Tea was pressed into intricate molds, dried and sold in brick form.
Designs varied, but they were all ornate... and they smelled wonderful!
Some pressed teas were a little more creative and took on other shapes.
This one is in the shape of a coin and could be hung as a decorative object.
China did not monopolize the market...this is Russian tea.
You can still buy these today, just usually not in your supermarket. I have had this brick of tea for over ten years and decided to treat it as sculptural art and not becoming wet tea leaves in the bottom of a cup. Let me know if you have seen other designs of tea bricks. I am fascinated with their beauty!