Thursday, February 28, 2013

An Unusual Item for Extended Long Term Storage

Row and I went to a cub scout "Go See'em" event last week at a historical restoration site. It was an old homestead from the 1800's that had been preserved and is used as a living history museum. One of the living history guides went on a tangent about tea and the time period. During this time, tea was often sold as bricks and displayed in a shadow box as a subtle reminder that "this house was wealthy". The guide also spoke that the Boston Tea Party threw bricks into the water rather than loose tea as commonly depicted. Interestingly enough, this same guide had purchased 10 of these 1 kilogram bricks before he left Vietnam in the 70's and had been steadily using them for over 40+ years. He said that he is down to his last brick.

This got me to thinking that this would make an excellent way to have tea in a very long term bad situation. The process of making this hot tea is very easy and requires very few items.

  • Grate a tsp into a teapot.
  • Pour the boiling water into the teapot.
  • Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
  • Optional: add in sugar and milk as desired 
A small grater for the tea brick, a teapot, and a strainer. I have seen some teapots that include a strainer within the spout which would make it even easier to prepare.


Tea bricks were first produced in the 9th century for the spice trade routes of the Far East. In an effort to make them more portable, tea producers compacted the tea into bricks for space savings and maximum profit. Due to the high value of tea in many parts of Asia, tea bricks were used as a form of currency throughout China, Tibet, and Central Asia. Even as recently as World War II, the tea bricks were used as a form of currency throughout Siberia. Imagine the value that would be placed on these tea bricks once again if any form of long term collapse happened. Just as salt was used as currency, these tea bricks could also serve as an excellent barter item. The bricks are portable, hard to be produce locally, and a luxury item. The extra ordinary shelf life of these bricks which can last for 40+ years with just moisture protection is also a great asset.

The tea bricks are usually adorned with intricate detail as shown below:

The tea bricks are also available in green and black tea. I have included a link to my Amazon store for the tea bricks. I do receive a small referral fee of 4% for any orders placed through Amazon, and the proceeds are going towards more reviews, both food and gear for the long term solution.

Keep Right On Prepping - K


My 500 gram black tea brick arrived today from the USPS. The order took 3 days to arrive and it was placed in the evening. The package was well prepared for travel, with the tea brick being wrapped in a thin tissue paper, then another thicker paper, and finally bubble wrapped. The space between the packaging and the box was very minimal and the brick arrived in excellent condition. It also included a tea sample, but I'm not sure if it is the same type of tea as the tea brick. Here is my picture below...

Oh yeah, it smells wonderful too! 


  1. Wow! thanks for that history lesson- I never knew any of that. I am going to head over to amazon and check them out. Not only is it Tea ( which we love) but its also a beautiful piece of artwork....

    1. I had never heard of it either, until the scout event. I actually have a black tea brick on order, and it should be at our house within the week. FYI- The museum guide said that it does not make a good iced tea though, only hot.

  2. That's really interesting. Thanks for sharing that!