Possibly even more unusual and difficult-to-find than its oolong version, Zhang Ping Shui Xian
, this is a black tea made from the Shui Xian cultivar and lightly compressed into little bricks. Shui Xian is more famous as a roasted Yan Cha, but its aromatics also do well fully oxidized, swathed in a bold and intensely malty body. Open one of the individually-wrapped portions for a faint nose of old wood; prise apart the tangle of large, dark leaves for a smaller portion, or, better yet, watch the whole open over a couple flash brews. The thick mouthfeel balances the acidity of red fruits against the nuttiness of toasted almonds, and is sure to satisfy those craving typical Chinese black tea, as well as interest those seeking something slightly off the beaten (brick) path.