- Tea Knowledge
The uniqueness of this rare tea is readily apparent: unlike most Chinese oolongs—and indeed most oolongs everywhere—the large, lightly-oxidised leaves have not been rolled into tiny balls or long twists, but have rather been compressed into a minuscule brick. Place one in the tea vessel of choice, and apply the hottest water to encourage it to open. Its second unusual aspect is deductible from the name, for while Wuyi Yan Cha fans may know the Shui Xian cultivar best for the dark, roasted oolong of the same name, this version, from the south of the same province, is mild and smooth.
This tea's mild processing has resulted in a bright infusion with the viscosity and flavor of sunflower oil, the round fruitiness of yellow plum and tomato, and orchid and green apple in the nose.
The Zhang Ping Shui Xian Bold displays a sweeter yet more intense aspect of this tea.
Zhang Ping Shui Xian bricks (bricklets?) are formed by hand pressing in a small, wooden mold before being individually wrapped and dried over hot ash. The bricks are then vacuum sealed to preserve freshness. Watch this short clip to see the molding in action: