Many moons ago, I received a very lovely gift for the tea-lover who has everything: a tea brick. It is compressed tea, historically used as a way to import large quantities of loose tea. It has a very nice picture moulded into the tea, and on the back it is divided up with a grid into handy-sized cubes. I have kept it as an objet d'interet, cos I like to show off my tea stuff to people.
However, today, it is time to enjoy the brick tea.
"Brick" is, I find, an extremely accurate term. I can no more break off tea that I could break off a bit of a real brick with my hands. I try sawing it with a bread knife. Then a meat knife. This results in a lot of uncontained tea dust. After a quick go with Chris's bike pliers, I resort to the magic of the internet to find instructions, as I am clearly missing something.
"Simply break or shave off a teaspoonful" is the best I can find. Shaving, even with the craftiest of craft knives, again result in a fingertipful of unsatisfactory tea dust, and I haven't got five hours to get enough tea for one cup. This is the hardest work I've ever done to get a cuppa.
You can see above the solution I ended up with.