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How to Remove Tea Leaves from a Tea Cake or Brick Using a Tea Needle

The function and the most common tea needle

Tea cakes and bricks offer a unique and convenient way to experience the rich flavors of tea. These compressed leaves provide a longer shelf life and ease of transport, making them a favorite among tea enthusiasts. But how do you actually unlock the tea within these solid forms?


For some compressed tea cakes or tea bricks, breaking them apart by hand is almost impossible because they are tightly compressed. Especially when you are making tea for friends or family, it is also a very embarrassing experience to break tea by hand. On the other hand, it is also challenging to control the amount of tea when breaking tea by hand, and it may break off a huge piece or make the tea very broken.

Tea friends often use the tea needle (of course, there are other forms, such as tea knives and Tea Tongs, but the tea needle is the most commonly used).


The most significant function of the tea needle is that it can very elegantly pry open the tea cake/tea brick and retain the integrity of the tea to the greatest extent possible (if the tea is inappropriately broken and the integrity of the tea is damaged, the connotative substances in the tea will be separated out very quickly, leading to an overly thick and bitter tea soup).


The most common tea needle is polished with stainless steel to form a sharp head and then installed on the wooden handle. To avoid injury, a cover is fixed together through the brass thread. This is a sturdy, durable, and reasonably priced tea needle.

Introducing our Wooden Tea Knife Needle, designed for easily breaking up tea cakes and bricks. Made from high-quality wood, this tea needle is a must-have for enthusiasts looking to enhance their tea brewing experience. Crafted for durability and precision, enjoy perfectly brewed Puerh/White/Fuzhuan tea every time.


This tea needle is finely crafted, tightly fitted, strong, and durable, with a cover for safety and no injury.

How to use the tea needle?

More detailed guidance

Gather Your Tools:

  • Tea needle: This small tool helps pry the leaves from the cake or brick without damaging them.
  • Tea tray or plate: A flat surface to collect the tea leaves.
  • Tea brewing vessel: Your preferred teapot, gaiwan, or mug for brewing the tea.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Inspecting: Carefully observe and look for the natural separation lines between the individual leaves on the surface of the cake or brick. These lines may not be immediately apparent, so it requires a meticulous examination to spot them.
  • Inserting: With great gentleness, insert the tea pick or knife along one of these identified natural lines. Doing this delicately will prevent any unnecessary damage to the leaves or the structure of the cake/brick.
  • Twisting & Prying: Turn and pry carefully once the tea pick or knife is inserted. Follow the natural lines of the cake/brick as closely as possible, gradually prying the leaves apart. This process requires patience and a gentle touch to ensure the integrity of the leaves.
  • Collecting: As the leaves are pried apart, let them fall onto the tray or plate. Watch as they gently settle, and continue this process until you have obtained the desired amount of leaves. During this step, you must be attentive to ensure you don't lose any precious tea leaves. Continue this process until you have the required tea leaves for your intended use.

Preparing & Brewing:

  • Rinsing: Carefully rinse the freshly harvested leaves using a fine tea strainer with steaming hot water. This process is essential to remove any impurities or debris that might be present on the leaves while also helping to awaken and release the rich flavors that lie within. The hot water gently washes over the leaves, infusing them with warmth and preparing them for brewing.
  • Choosing Your Method: Now, it's time to select the brewing vessel that suits your preference. You can choose from a variety of options, such as a traditional teapot, a charming gaiwan, or a simple mug. Each vessel has unique characteristics that can enhance the brewing experience and bring out different nuances of the tea. Consider the vessel's size, shape, and material to ensure the best results.
  • Adding Hot Water: Gently pour the hot water over the leaves nestled within your chosen brewing vessel. The water should be at the appropriate temperature for the specific tea type, as this will significantly impact the flavor and quality of the infusion. Allow the water to flow smoothly over the leaves, saturating them completely. Then, steep the tea for the recommended duration, which can vary depending on the tea you are brewing. Some teas require a longer steeping time for full flavor development, while others are best enjoyed with a shorter infusion time.
  • Enjoying Your Tea: It's time to savor and enjoy the unique flavors and aromas of the tea you have carefully harvested from the cake or brick. Take a moment to appreciate the complexity and depth of the taste and the soothing and comforting sensations that the tea brings. Let the warmth of the tea soothe your soul and transport you to a place of tranquility and relaxation. Immerse yourself in the rich and delightful world of tea, and relish every sip of this delightful beverage.

More than just a practical storage method, harvesting tea from cakes or bricks adds a touch of ritual and tradition to your tea experience. So, the next time you encounter these fascinating forms, don't hesitate to unlock their flavorful secrets.


So, there you have it! With the tea needle, you can unlock the rich flavors and essence hidden within the tea cake or brick. It's a delightful journey of exploration and discovery, as each time you pry apart the leaves, you're uncovering a new layer of taste and experience. Whether sharing a pot of tea with friends or indulging in solitude, using a tea needle to harvest from these compressed forms adds a special touch to your tea ritual. So, go ahead and embark on this tea adventure, and let the world of tea unfold before you with every sip and every leaf you carefully extract. 

Author of Orientaleaf

The Author: Cary Woo

Cary Woo has been working in the tea industry for over 10 years and has run a tea house for over 6 years, serving thousands of tea enthusiasts each year. He has a deep passion for various types of Chinese tea and is also the operator of Orientaleaf. He advocates for Orientaleaf's business philosophy, stating, "We only sell tea that we have personally enjoyed and believe to be of high quality." He hopes to make the beauty of Chinese tea accessible to tea enthusiasts worldwide through simple means.

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