Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong Smoked Wuyi Black

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Smoke, Cream, Mineral, Pine
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Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Joshua Smith
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 oz / 218 ml

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From Verdant Tea

Beautifully balanced, delicate and masterfully smoked, this exquisite Lapsang Souchong style smoked Wuyi black tea is one of the finest we’ve ever found. It is crafted with care by the Li family, growing their tea in the Wuyi mountains in Xing Village. The Li family devotes most of their harvest to fine Wuyi oolongs, honing the difficult craft of rolling and roasting, so it’s no wonder the floral and delicate qualities of fine oolong comes through in this Lapsang Souchong. Anyone who enjoys roasted oolong or chocolatey black teas will love this unique offering.

The aroma of the leaf has fresh pine sap and notes frankincense resin from the pine needle smoking process. Intriguingly, a nuanced saltiness comes through to compliment the woody aromas, much like the saltiness of fine Japanese incense. While many Lapsang Souchong teas assault the nose with their intensity, this tea offers a more mature and subtle experience.

The flavor is warm and cozy with chocolate and cream, and it’s aroma evokes a hot cedar sauna or wine-soaked oak barrels, aging in a wine cellar. Fruity dark floral notes shine in the aftertaste as marigold and sumac. These sweet and tart florals are actually strengthened by the light, delicate smokiness of the tea. The pine smoke flavors bring out the signature mineral notes of Wuyi tea, and push forward a beautiful hot chocolate taste that lingers on.

This tea steeps out for many infusions, yielding a refined and clean tea more vaporously musty than smokey, with the sweet and salty kick of brown sugar. We highly recommend trying this tea, as it opens up a whole new way of thinking about smoked teas, and offers a gorgeous perspective on the terroir of the Wuyi mountains.

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29 Tasting Notes

88
5241 tasting notes

evening tea because this was all i wanted tonight with a splash of maple syrup. SO. Good. Just the right balance of smoke and deliciousness for me nom nom nom nom nom

caile

nomnomnom little heffalump ;-)

MissB

Ha! You guys make me laugh.

Terri HarpLady

Did you sip it up through your trunk???

Terri HarpLady

I mean, now that you’re a heffalump, you can do that, right?

Sil

Of course! While Wearing my rubber boots in case I splash

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3048 tasting notes

1 T + 8oz X 3/5 min
I still haven’t done a gongfu steepings with this tea yet, & I really should.
(Sars, I’m going to buy that damn yixing I wanted for smoky teas now. I blame you. hahaha)
Anyway, it’s very tasty, in a pine & brown sugar kind of way, not overly smokey, but delicious. I’m drinking it plain, but I happen to know for a fact that a little Maple syrup turns this one into a wonderful dessert.

Sarsonator

Who meeeeee? Lookie here… I asked YOU for a link for teaware. I can’t help it that you kept on going :p

boychik

MzPriss, the pot is gorgeous. I keep saying myself I don’t need it(. The only excuse I need 100ml or smaller)

Cameron B.

MzPriss, that’s my favorite one from their new collection. SO jealous!

Terri HarpLady

Priss, that is Beautiful!
I ordered this one, which I’ve been drooling over for weeks
http://camellia-sinensis.com/en/teapot/theiere-de-mme-sheng-sg-26
Sars ;)

Sarsonator

Both of your new teapots are so lovely! Eeeee!!! Teawares!!

Dexter

OMG!!! Those are both BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Dexter

And the one Terri got also comes in a round, fat – pumpkin style… whimper…
http://camellia-sinensis.com/en/teapot/theiere-de-mme-sheng-sg-1

Terri HarpLady

Yeah, that roundish one is really cute too. I picked mine cuz I like the simple designs on the lid, & I already have several round teapots, so I liked the different shape.

boychik

Terri, I saw that pot few weeks ago. Gorgeous !

Sil

mustnotstartbuyingteawaremustnotstartbuyingteaware

OMGsrsly

Those tea pots are all so cute!

MzPriss

OMG those black pots. * Restrains self *

Terri HarpLady

I know priss…I know!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Terri, if you have an overabundance of this tea and don’t want it all the badly, I will buy it from you…it’s my favorite tea ever I think. lol

Terri HarpLady

Brendan…maybe we’ll do a trade?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I like that idea! :) I’ll send you a message!

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100
673 tasting notes

I got a Google+ message from Eric:
“What…look…the leaves are HUGE!” with a picture attached showing the Zheng Shan Ziao Zhong Smoked Wuyi Black tea by Verdant (say that 3 times fast!).

I answered back,
“OK Eric, I’ll pick some up as soon as David Duckler makes it available on the Verdant website…”, which I did immediately.

Then, I got sick right after the tea arrived. Bah!

As soon as I was well enough to drive, I picked myself up and off I went with my one ounce of precious tea booty. (I also have a small amount of puerh aged in a brandy barrel from Oregon, a gift from Eric to try that’s amazing…but that’s another story)

This tasting was met with great anticipation by Eric, Joe, Andy, Sam and owner George.

After much swooning over the aroma of the leaves…(a light smoky, sweetness)…Joe deftly worked gongfu magic, pouring amber liquor into many tiny tasting cups.

The wet leaves smelled like bbq that had been marinated in a rich jammy Paso Robles Zinfindel. The scent was floral…right in the middle of all that meaty, sour ripeness.

Eric tasted the tea first.

“Ah, this is what a lapsang should taste like when it’s done right. It’s what I’ve heard about but never tasted. I could drink this every day!”

I took my time…and a sip.

Light smoke, almost not there but salty next to sweet vanilla (Eric said that’s from the pine) and camphor. Floral aroma and very light smoke. Smooth. Layered and complex. Cocoa…

I don’t think one tasting can honor such a tea, time is needed.

Everyone raved…yes…raved about the tea.

The smoked tea’s most of us are used to drinking are far different from a superior craft tea such as this one.

My highest rating goes to this Lapsang Souchong.
In my opinion it is the example…the standard, of what a smoked tea should and can be.

A+++!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I had to buy this too :) its fantastic!

Bonnie

I knew you would appreciate this tea. You just don’t come across the real deal very often if ever. You, a smoky tea junkie, a..connoisseur is saying something huge when you proclaim “it’s fantastic”!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

It’s such a huge difference between the usual lapsangs…it’s not smoke as much as the feel of the warm pinewood on the morning after a campfire…truly amazing :)

Bonnie

You are a poet at heart and friend of the pine. True…there isn’t a roaring campfire or brush with a pine tree (needles in the face).

@ligongsf

Hmm, I never had truly smokey tea…like coffee? zheng shan xiong zhong..I was wondering what it is..then found it on wiki: 正山小种. LOl. I will one day visit Wuyi mountain in Fujian, since a friend of mine has a family tea farm there

Bonnie

Not like coffee, it can taste more cinder depending on the tea. I’ve had savory smoke that reminds me more of BBQ and some that are like walking through the forest in the morning when you smell woodsmoke. I’ve lived in the woods in California.

@ligongsf

that’s a beautiful description…woodsmoke…noted for wuyi black…so i guess its stronger than tie guan ying

Bonnie

Yes, very much stronger and not floral or vegital.

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325 tasting notes

I had to come back just to talk about this tea.

I received a small sample in the tea of the month box and I got really excited. Those of you who know my review history know that Upton Tea’s “black dragon” is one of my “gotta have it on the shelf at all times” daily drinking teas. I rave about black dragon because it is a strong, powerful lapsang that doesn’t make you think of pork rinds or bacon or any other kind of meat product. It isn’t greasy or salty or sharp, or whatever it is that makes a lot of people think of cured meat when they smell it. But, at the end of the day, black dragon is still a very smokey tea.

But this… this tea is a whole other universe.

I opened the sample pack and thought … 4H fair. The smell of feed hay in a hot, close barn. Those pellets you can get from the candy vending machine to feed the animals at a petting zoo.

The wet leaf? Oh man.

The wet leaf is like drinking the zoo. Seriously.

Do you want to feel six years old, with a balloon on your wrist and the sounds of exotic birds in your ears, arguing about whether to go to the monkey house or the big cat exhibit? Drink this tea.

Do you want to remember what it felt like to hug a sheep that hadn’t been shorn in a long, long time? Drink this tea.

I don’t see this tea replacing anyone’s beloved lapsang or caravan tea. It’s too different. It doesn’t fill the same gap in the line-up, I don’t think.

But it is a marvelously transcendent, nuanced, delightful tea. You must try it. You absolutely must, no matter how much you think you don’t like smoked tea. Try this one.

I’m just glad I have a well seasoned lapsang yixing to do this tea justice with.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Terri HarpLady

Glad you’re here, Jim. Glad you shared about this tea too!
And, of course, I love your post.
Especially that last sentence. I was talking with somebody about yixing the other day, & when they asked if I had one for black teas I said no. I’m using a yixing sized porcelain little pot (at this time) for my blacks, because I felt that if I added another yixing to my collection for black teas, I’d have to add several, LOL, to honor the various flavor profiles.

When Verdant announced that they were offering the tea, I immediately got some, & drinking it, I knew that my first ‘black tea’ yixing would have to be for the select smokey teas in my collection. And then I’ll have to get one for the Dian Hongs…sigh…and then…

gmathis

Petting zoo tea! Love the imagery!

Jim Marks

Terri,

I have a yixing for the following teas:

shou pu erh
yunnan golden
laoshan black (this has a unique enough flavor it needs its own pot)
lapsang souchong

I also have a purion for Da Hong Pao. Purion is like yixing, in that it is an unglazed clay pot, but it is specifically for wuyi type oolongs and pu erh. I’d like to get a second one for sheng pu erh at some point.

Those are the teas I drink often enough to make having invested in five pots worth the money. I use all these pots at least once a week.

I use gaiwain for all the occasional teas (verdant samples, green, floral oolongs, whatever).

Verdant now offers some lovely gaiwain — I prefer the wide, flat ones to the typical ones you see in the US which are tall and narrow.

I get my yixing from the Canadian tea site http://camellia-sinensis.com
They have some top shelf artisan stuff, but also some great entry level priced stuff too.

Terri HarpLady

I currently have 3 yixings:
Sheng
Shou
lovely roasty Wuyi Oolongs
Then the aforementioned yixing sized porcelain for blacks, until I start buying separate pots for a few of them :)
Then I have an assortment of Gaiwans for other oolongs, greens, etc, & I agree, I prefer the short wide ones as well.
I haven’t looked at Purions, but I really enjoy the yixings I have, & am always looking at others, so thanks for the link!
I’m almost afraid to look…hahaha

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97
2511 tasting notes

Decidedly NOT as good in a travel mug, probably because the smokiness is most noticeable in the aroma, which is hampered when drinking from a Timolino. Oh well. Didn’t have a lot of time to pick travel mug teas tonight.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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141 tasting notes

It is completely my fault that I don’t love this tea. I saw the word “smoked” in the name. I got some anyway. Not. My. Thing. The rest of this ounce will now be Brenden’s. Thing.

Flavors: Smoke

Cheri

It’s nice to try something and then just give it away. :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

YESSSSSSSS!!!!!! <3 :D

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Lame, I wrote like 10 hearts and it only posted one. Whatevz. All the hearts :P

Cheri

Hahahah! I wonder why you only got one heart? <3

Cheri

(I also only got one heart. :( )

MzPriss

I’m pretending there are 10 hearts Brenden

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Steepster is limiting the love :(

MzPriss

Steepster has a love-limiter :( bummer

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340 tasting notes

Ah nice, smooth & smoky, but I think I’m getting tired of it. That’s why it’s definitely better to buy in small amounts for me… I really want to drink it down but not enjoying it so much any more. Smoked out? Maybe. Eh, but just got like a couple cups I think. No more smokey teas for me for a bit.

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92
148 tasting notes

This one is really something else.

If I had to rate a tea a perfect 100, it would be the first Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong I ever tried, several years ago. So when I ordered this batch of Xiao Zhong from Verdant Tea, I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the expectations of that initial, nostalgic memory. I let it sit for a while, untested, and when I finally opened the package, I was admittedly a little shocked by the intensity of the smoky aroma. This wasn’t the beginner-friendly, soft smokiness of a Shui Xian, and nothing like the Xiao Zhong I had remembered either. It’s complex and earthy, almost animal, with a very strong scent of resin or wet, smoldering pine needles. It’s not something I’d want to inhale deeply, but it becomes more subtle after brewing.

Once brewed, this tea really shines. It’s light and smooth, very fragrant but with none of the punch of the dry leaf aroma, with a natural sweetness that becomes more evident with more sips. The sweetness is almost like fruit in syrup, but with no cloying sugariness. There is a lingering touch of the pine or evergreen essence as well. Overall, I think the real appeal of this tea is in the contrast between the intensity of the aroma, which is sharp, cool, and startling, and the subtlety of the flavor, which is warm and almost too harmonious to be believed. It’s not similar to that mythical first Xiao Zhong, but it is unique and unlike anything else I’ve tried.

looseTman

Very well described!

Mikumofu

Thank you!

looseTman

You’re welcome!

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268 tasting notes

I ordered this at Verdant because I’d never had a smoky tea before. It was indeed smoky! It wasn’t unpleasant for me but I don’t think that smoke is one of my favorite flavors. If you do like smoky teas, I would recommend it though! It was smooth and mellow and tasted expensive if you know what I mean.

Virginia

Is expensive a flavour option on here? It totally should be!

Virginia

When I think smoky, I think rooibos so when I see “smoky” in the descritption, I cripple up with fear and cringe. Damn you Oh Canada for making me hate smokiness so much.

mj

Expensive should be a flavor option for sure! I thought I might not like the smokiness either, but I had to try!

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90
92 tasting notes

Very smooth lapsang with a pleasant aftertaste that stays for a long time

Terri HarpLady

I agree! Good to see you, Zeks, I thought of you the other day when I was drinking from. My tiny double walled glass cups. Not a pleasant memory for you, I know…

Zeks

haha, lol, I am way past that thankfully :)

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