There are endless ways to shape tea, or compress it. Tea leaves can be shaped into needles, pearls, sticks, twists, old man’s eyebrows, birds’ tongues, melon seeds – there are many evocative descriptions in Chinese terminology.
Tea can also be compressed. This is mainly done with dark teas, but sometimes with white teas and certain black teas too. They become bricks, cakes or, as you can see here, simple balls.