I think this was the last of my sipdowns from the previous week. I know I finished like four or five teas I had been working on for some time over the course of the week, and I seem to recall finishing this one last. As much as I enjoyed the spring 2017 Premium AA Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong from Yunnan Sourcing, I expected this tea to be at least as good if not a bit better. Well, as it turned out, this tea did not let me down. I found it to be an excellent Wuyi black tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, pine, peach, rose, baked bread, cinnamon, cedar, and raisin. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, malt, and cream. The first infusion introduced a strong aroma of orange zest as well as subtler scents of violet, grass, and chocolate. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of honey, peach, malt, cedar, baked bread, roasted almond, and cream that were balanced by hints of orange zest, pine, chocolate, pear, violet, red apple, and grass. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of apple, pear, plum, lemon zest, butter, earth, and menthol plus stronger scents of grass and violet and some subtle juniper touches. Impressions of cinnamon, raisin, roasted peanut, and rose emerged in the mouth along with stronger pine, orange zest, violet, red apple, pear, chocolate, and grass notes. New notes of minerals, lemon zest, juniper, butter, earth, apricot, menthol, and oats also appeared along with subtle impressions of brown sugar. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, butter, cream, malt, roasted peanut, orange zest, and lemon zest that were backed by hints of baked bread, brown sugar, earth, honey, menthol, and pine.

This was tremendously deep and complex for a Wuyi black tea. I also especially appreciated the harmonious interaction of the aroma and flavor components, the sharp, crisp mouthfeel of the tea liquor, and the tea’s longevity. In my opinion, there was not much of anything to dislike here. If you have had quality Wuyi black teas in the past, this one probably won’t surprise you in any way, but more importantly, it will not disappoint you in the least. All in all, this was just a really, really good Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Red Apple, Rose, Violet

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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