Okay, here is another June sipdown before I call it quits for the evening. I think this one came from the middle of the month when I was transitioning from Yunnan black teas to Wuyi black teas. I know it was either the first or the second of the three Wuyi teas I drank during the month. Anyway, this was a very good Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. Yunnan Sourcing usually does a really good job of sourcing teas of this type. I often find their Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong to be more rewarding than their Jin Jun Mei.

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 chased by 17 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orchid, honey, pine, cedar, cinnamon, baked bread, dark chocolate, and peach. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, and malt as well as a few subtle grassy scents. The first infusion brought out aromas of red apple and straw. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, straw, honey, pine, cinnamon, baked bread, red apple, and malt that were backed by hints of roasted almond, oats, dark chocolate, and cream. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of tangerine zest, lemon zest, pear, caramel, juniper, butter, sugarcane, green olive, and violet. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of oats, cream, dark chocolate, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging notes of cedar and roasted peanut as well as hints of peach and grass. I also picked up on impressions of minerals, butter, lemon zest, tangerine zest, caramel, earth, plum, green olive, juniper, pear, sugarcane, and violet. As the tea faded, the tea liquor emphasized mineral, malt, tangerine zest, lemon zest, cream, baked bread, and pine notes that were balanced by hints of butter, plum, sugarcane, dark chocolate, orchid, red apple, cinnamon, juniper, grass, and straw.

This was a ridiculously complex and enjoyable Wuyi black tea. Had it not faded a little quickly for my tastes and had some of the flavors not expressed themselves in a way that felt somewhat rushed and muddled in places, I would have no problem with scoring this tea a 90 or higher. As is, though, it was a very good tea that personally fell just short of excellence for me. I have no doubt that others would enjoy it more, and that is fine.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Oats, Olives, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Straw, Sugarcane, Violet

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Great review! This is one of my favourite blacks from YS. I am almost finished the bag and I have not left a review yet. I’ve got the 2018 tea.

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Great review! This is one of my favourite blacks from YS. I am almost finished the bag and I have not left a review yet. I’ve got the 2018 tea.

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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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