I received this as a free sample from Yezi Tea. Their samples come beautifully packaged in color coded foil packets which don’t seem to allow scent leakage. The whole unboxing experience was very neat and clean. The samples came in a tiny flat box, which was actually small enough to fit into my little apartment mailbox, and there were all sorts of cute thank you notes and notes about “red tea” as a name for black tea and smiley faces and stuff. They seem very promising for a starting tea company, and I hope to place another order with them soon.
The tea: On their website, they call this “I can’t believe it’s not scotch”, but as with the butter substitute, I certainly can believe it. I actually get some sweet, fruity notes from this tea. It has the lightest kiss of smokiness and an undercurrent I can’t place… It’s like a combination of pollen and nuts. The first steeping was a beautiful mahogany, which darkened to a deep raw umber with subsequent steepings. From the scent and the color, I was expecting a heavy handed tea that smacked you upside the head with flavor and smoke and depth, but the zheng shan xiao zhong was actually very delicate and light. All things considered, it was a pretty positive tea drinking experience.