Star Village Black

Tea type
Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jenn-cha
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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5 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I have to fall in with the general consensus here – this reminds me of a Bohea. But it does differ in some important ways, too, at least from the two(ish?) Bohea I’ve had. It smells smoky and a...” Read full tasting note
    89
    aug3zimm 911 tasting notes
  • “When I opened the tin of this, I was intrigued by the smell. Smoke. Not as intense as a lapsang, but more obvious than most Keemuns I've tried. The other person to write a tasting note about it...” Read full tasting note
    91
    sophistre 158 tasting notes
  • “I have so much backlogging to do, but right now I'm just going to sit here and relax while enjoying this tea. It seems a bit smokier today but perhaps that is because I haven't had the Bohea...” Read full tasting note
    89
    chai-jenn 104 tasting notes

From The Tao of Tea

Native Name: Zhengshan Xiao Zhong

Origin: Wuyishan, China

Plucking Season: Early Summer

Introduction: Zheng Shan ‘original mountains’ comprise the highlands of Wuyi Mountain National Nature Reserve in northwestern Fujian province, China.
Within the area is a 400 year old tea garden in Tong Mu Guan of Xing ‘Star’ Village. The Xiao Zhong ‘small species’ varietal tea plants grow scattered along the rocky ground between a clear mountain stream and wild bamboo forest.

Flavor Profile: Complex, sweet fruit and cocoa aromas are complemented by a subtle smoky character

Certified Organic by: Quality Assurance International (QAI)

About The Tao of Tea View company

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5 Tasting Notes

89
911 tasting notes

I have to fall in with the general consensus here – this reminds me of a Bohea. But it does differ in some important ways, too, at least from the two(ish?) Bohea I’ve had.

It smells smoky and a bit bacony while brewing but once it is in my cup, there’s an unexpected but interesting added smell that I can’t quite place. It’s not as rich and velvety smelling as the Bohea I’ve had and a lot of it is due to that extra something – something almost lemon or citrusy?

The taste is very similar to the smell – it’s surprisingly light and bright tasting because of that extra not-quite-lemon flavor. The not-lemon flavor leads each sip followed by smoke and perhaps a hint of cocoa. It’s different from most smokies I’ve had and quite tasty.

As I kept sipping, that not-lemon flavor seemed to gel in my mind as a more figgy or plum taste, reminding me of a softer Yunnan or perhaps a Fujian black. The overall smoke is lighter in intensity than most smokies and doesn’t feel as velvety or thick because of the light fruitiness. That lack of thickness is actually nice in that it lets this tea be a smoky tea for a different mood. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a heavy, rich feeling Bohea or a powerful and strong Lapsang. This gives the smokiness but with a light fruity sweetness that makes it not your typical heavy cup of smoke. Perhaps its more of a summer/hot weather smoky tea? Quite enjoyable!

Much thanks to sophistre for the share!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Thomas Smith

This is a true Lapsang Souchong Bohea.

Auggy

Good to know – and makes sense that it would remind me of Bohea if it is Bohea! :) It threw me a bit because even compared to Tao of Tea’s Bohea (which is a true Bohea, I think you previously said?) it’s a lot fruitier and softer.

Only slightly related question for you: You seem to know a lot about good quality smoky teas. Have any suggestions of some must try teas?

Thomas Smith

Well, my first suggestion would be to just keep trying the many incarnations of Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong and other Wu Yi red teas. Seems a lot of retailers are starting to market it under names other than Lapsang to distance themselves from unfavorable overly-smoky experiences folks may have had. I’m enjoying reading your reviews on Wu Yi red teas!
I wasn’t brave enough to try Lapsangs after being stung by a liquid smoke version until I got into more traditional oolongs, which are from the same area and have that smoky impression. A Keemun-like preparation of Da Hong Pao cultivar under the name Imperial Red (a name that I’ve also seen tacked onto Keemuns, Yunnan reds, and Sichuan reds) got me looking at Wu Yi reds – and Fujian reds in general – in a different light.

Auggy

Thanks! I suppose I should really pay more attention to the Chinese names of the teas and just try lots and lots of Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (instead of depending on the “Bohea” or “Lapsang” labels). I just love the smoky teas! :)

Thomas Smith

Exactly – just search out any red teas you can find from the Wu Yi mountains in Fujian and you should be set. Just look out for that liquid smoke junk.

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91
158 tasting notes

When I opened the tin of this, I was intrigued by the smell. Smoke. Not as intense as a lapsang, but more obvious than most Keemuns I’ve tried. The other person to write a tasting note about it compared it to Bohea, and I think that’s a pretty apt comparison, actually.

I was a little bit concerned about the amount/quality of the smoke scent when I steeped it. It seemed vaguely ash-tray to me. I detest the smell of cigarette smoke, so making that mental connection was going to be a very, very bad thing. I had to determinedly tell myself that it wasn’t ash-tray, it was just smoky tea…

The smell is still a little bit worrisome (to me), but the taste is really lovely. It brews to a light amber, and now that it’s cooler the taste is a bit bready and easily the sweetest of any smoke-heavy tea that I’ve tried. The sweetness really blossoms on your palate after you swallow, and sticks around. It’s sort of making my mouth water, actually.

Absolutely delicious! Set the rating for this one at 87 or so, but I think the sweet flavor will merit pushing the rating upward.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Auggy

Now you’ve got me contemplating a Tao of Tea order. You are a bad influence. :)

sophistre

If it makes you feel any better, it’s almost all organic, and they have a frequent-buyer program (in the form of ‘tea leaves’ you can collect, that earn you free tea).

I recommend it! And I recommend the 500 mile chai. It’s not my absolute favorite company, but I haven’t tapped much of their catalogue yet! (Though I liked their Ali Shan. Mmm.)

Auggy

Ack! Correction: You are horrible influence! Hehe!

sophistre

Hahaha. I think my work here is done.

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89
104 tasting notes

I have so much backlogging to do, but right now I’m just going to sit here and relax while enjoying this tea. It seems a bit smokier today but perhaps that is because I haven’t had the Bohea recently to compare smoke levels to.

Bumping this rating up a little.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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