Hide

Welcome to Steepster, an online tea community.

Write a tea journal, see what others are drinking and get recommendations from people you trust. or Learn More

90

Never thought I’d be wishing I bought a larger quantity of Lapsang. This is utterly incomparable to any tea bearing the same name that I have ever seen, tasted, or even heard of.

First, and foremost – it is not smoky. There are light whiffs of toasted marshmallows, wheat bread just finishing cooking in an oven, or a very hot smokeless oak fire oven/grill, but really it is more about the light “smokiness” of tobacco leaves and milled grains. Pay little heed to the company description of “strong and smoky”!

While this is not a pure bud tea (two leaf and a bud intact sets are common throughout) it is entirely covered in light golden hair. Leaf length and color is very similar to a pure bud Yunnan red. Measuring the 4g I used for my gaiwan resulted in a volume around 1.5-2 tablespoons. Used 125ml with steep times-temps: 1.5min-95C, 2.5min-95C, 4min-90C, 5min-85C, 5min-100C, 9.5min-85C.

Dry fragrance is similar to the Golden Monkey reds I’ve been going through a lot lately – dried apricot and nectarine – but when tossed into the prewarmed gaiwan, the fragrance was straight up natural cocoa powder. Wet leaves like doused, burned hardwood – not smoky, but toasty with a refreshing light char note oddly reminiscent of grilled Tilapia (not fishy, mind you) and indiscernible fruit “ripeness”. The lid from the gaiwan, however combined a touch of the former cocoa with piles of ripe fruit aromas. Kumquat above the rest, but also white peach, uncut nectarine, longan, intact raspberries, black figs, apricot kiwi, and just a hint of avocado and coconut. These carry through in the liquor aroma but longan takes the stage. Liquor is bright red-orange and very clear.

Flavor takes the fruit notes and blends them nicely with roasted nuts – almonds and macadamias primarily, but chestnut, cashew, brazil nut, pecan, and peanut also play a small part. The taste is a base of woody characteristics – brown rice, sesame seed, dried grasses, barley, oak, sunflower seeds and palms. Aftertaste brings in a mineral quality of adobe clay or mud bricks and a bit of gravel in the afteraroma. Not heavy on the minerals, but it certainly draws up similarities to other WuYi Shan teas. Nice heavier-medium body is much thicker than most Lapsangs, on par with heavier Keemuns. Smoooooooth. Mouthfeel again makes me think of clay in a sort of slip-slurry. There’s a very slight astringency just up against the uvula… Don’t think I’ve had a tea that hits that part of the mouth and nowhere else. Fleeting crispness and faint herbaceous acidity leaves a mouthwatering effect, but not a ton. Really clean – - aftertaste diminishes really quickly and afteraroma is short. impression of the tactile elements lingers for a while, though.

Man, this is yummy. Definitely getting more the next chance I can make the excuse. Expensive, but oh so worth it. I brewed this up with the intent of something to kick me awake, but it wound up being comforting and satisfying, making me want to curl up and take a nap. I finished long before the tea did and this would be a great candidate to drink straight from the gaiwan with. Again, you can not compare this to other Lapsangs – this is much more akin to specialty Taiwanese Reds.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec
AmazonV

a non lapsang lapsang, perhaps it’s for me?

Thomas Smith

Well, it is still the same tea, just rigorously graded, carefully processed, and not as heavily smoked. The breakdown of the name Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong just means “original mountain small kind,” with small-kind referring to the leaf size and originally the tea wasn’t produced with heavy smoke though it’s become the norm.
Of course, the 50g I got may not be representative of a larger quantity or next year’s batch.

Thomas Smith

You really ought to give it a try.

Auggy

Gorgeous leaves. And this sounds amazing.

AmazonV

when my poor little tea bookcase shrinks i may have to….i think it’s the heavily smoked bit that gets me i always wonder what caught on fire

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

People who liked this

Comments

AmazonV

a non lapsang lapsang, perhaps it’s for me?

Thomas Smith

Well, it is still the same tea, just rigorously graded, carefully processed, and not as heavily smoked. The breakdown of the name Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong just means “original mountain small kind,” with small-kind referring to the leaf size and originally the tea wasn’t produced with heavy smoke though it’s become the norm.
Of course, the 50g I got may not be representative of a larger quantity or next year’s batch.

Thomas Smith

You really ought to give it a try.

Auggy

Gorgeous leaves. And this sounds amazing.

AmazonV

when my poor little tea bookcase shrinks i may have to….i think it’s the heavily smoked bit that gets me i always wonder what caught on fire

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

Tea Geek.

My focus is on Chinese Wulongs and Pu’er but I’m all over the place. I tend to follow a seasonal progression of teas, following the freshness curve of greens through summer and rounding the cooler months out with toastier teas and Masala Chai.
With the exception of Masala Chai milk tea I’m a purist at heart. While I was originally snagged by Earl Grey with bergamot and make blends for gifts, I very rarely go for scented teas or herbals and can’t remember the last time I bought a tea that was blended. Pure tea is just more interesting to me than the product of mixing flavors. I do understand and appreciate their existence, though.

I upload some blends I make or special prep teas I nab under the company name “Green Raven Tea and Coffee” and the vast majority of these posts will be blends crafted to create flavors/characteristics not inherent in any one particular tea.
I’ve worked as a tea buyer for a smallish cafe and try to keep apprized of shifts in offerings even when not selecting for a business so I wind up sampling a ton of wholesale samples from a couple companies in particular but try to branch out to as many companies as I can find. Until Steepster integrates some form of comparative tasting feature, none of my cupping notes will make it onto my reviews unless wrapped up into something I feel compelled to drink multiple times on its own.



Since all the cool kids are doing it, here’s my big fat ratings scheme:

0-12…..Ugh, don’t wish on anyone
13-25….Bad, won’t touch again
26-37….Huh, not worth the effort
38-50….Meh, unremarkable
51-62….Okay, good tea
63-75….Tasty, really good tea
76-87….Yum, wonderful
88-100…Wow, really spectacular

There shouldn’t be many postings at all from me ranked 26-50 since unremarkable teas are unlikely to make me remark on ’em but to “earn” a score 37 or below I have to be disappointed to the point where others may ask for a refund or turn down offers even when free or offered as a gift (beyond stale).

I’ve got a ton of respect for anything rated 63 or higher.

For a tea to get 71 or more, it has to be pretty special and kinda blow my socks off.

The 90s are reserved for wonders that make me reevaluate my views of the world of tea as a whole.

Location

Santa Rosa, California, United States

Following These People