Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong of Wu Yi Fujian Black Tea * Spring 2015

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Berries, Creamy, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Raspberry, Roasted Barley, Tannin, Vegetal
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Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by looseTman
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 oz / 110 ml

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10 Tasting Notes View all

  • “To my knowledge, this is the last of my Yunnan Sourcing teas from 2015. I opened it a few months ago and have been surprised by its inconsistency. In some sessions I get dark chocolate with a hint...” Read full tasting note
    76
  • “Oh, boo. This harvest is a bit of a bummer. I’ve tried it a few times now, with a handful of different parameters and I just can’t get it to work all that well. It’s not bad, but compared with the...” Read full tasting note
    60
  • “Forgive me, Steepsterites, but I must vent and I know you lot will understand. My father doesn’t like tea. At all. He feels about tea the same way I feel about beer, i.e. NOPE! Blech! Spitty! My...” Read full tasting note
  • “I brewed about 4 grams in a 100ml gaiwan (tho I usually like my blacks western style) at 195f. I started with 10 seconds on first steep then moved up to 15 seconds for the next few. I was expecting...” Read full tasting note
    58

From Yunnan Sourcing

"Classic Wu Yi mountain black tea varietal "Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong" means literally "from Wu Yi Mountain Small Tea Plant".




Our offering is processed in a traditional style and has notes of dark chocolate taste and aroma with a sweet after-finish.




We recommend brewing with 90c temperature water. Wash once very briefly!




This is not a smoky "Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong" and should not be confused with the smoky type "Lapsang Souchong"!"

About Yunnan Sourcing View company

Company description not available.

10 Tasting Notes

76
164 tasting notes

To my knowledge, this is the last of my Yunnan Sourcing teas from 2015. I opened it a few months ago and have been surprised by its inconsistency. In some sessions I get dark chocolate with a hint of raspberry, while in others I get stewed fruit and malt. For this review, I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 13, 17, 20, 25, 30, 40, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The first couple steeps have notes of malt, tannins, minerals, and creamy raspberry. My initial impression is of a generic Chinese tea, but it’s mellower and a bit fruitier. The fruit really comes through in the next few rounds, resembling raspberries and other tart berries. There’s also some roasted barley. After the fifth steep, the berries recede and malt, roasted barley, honey, tannins, and leather take over. The session fades into minerals, vegetables, tannins, and malt.

As other reviewers have mentioned, this tea might not have been great when young but has improved with age. The unusual raspberry and mellow flavours make it interesting, although I would have preferred some chocolate in the mix. I’m down to my last few sessions with this, and I can’t help wondering if I’ll miss all my old teas now that they’re almost gone.

Flavors: Berries, Creamy, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Raspberry, Roasted Barley, Tannin, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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60
193 tasting notes

Oh, boo. This harvest is a bit of a bummer. I’ve tried it a few times now, with a handful of different parameters and I just can’t get it to work all that well. It’s not bad, but compared with the previous harvest which has to be one of my favorite teas ever, it’s very disappointing. Where that was hefty, perfectly chocolatey and malty. This is insipid. With a terribly odd aftertaste. I’ll definitely try the next harvest, but fingers crossed it’s back to where it was before.

kristinalee

Removing this one from my wishlist…

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1328 tasting notes

Forgive me, Steepsterites, but I must vent and I know you lot will understand.

My father doesn’t like tea. At all. He feels about tea the same way I feel about beer, i.e. NOPE! Blech! Spitty! My mother enjoys the occasional cup of tea, though, but wants it to be as convenient as possible, so preferably bagged stuff. Recently she has been very fond of Lady Grey from Twinings.

So my father writes me an email saying could I help him find something like that, only maybe a better quality than the Twinings bags and such and such is the budget. Sure, I do some research. Twinings, imo, isn’t actually the worst bag out there, but even so the next step up is loose. And if we’re going for loose, we might as well go that little bit further. So I trawl through AC Perchs’ website and finds a couple that sound to me like they might be similar and I trawl through Carstensens (another large Danish shop, but I have never used them much for no other reason than sort of forgetting they’re there) and find things that are similar.

And I put all these findings in a very long email, which has links to both websites, price per 100 g of each and price of shipping. Plus information that these are loose, not available as bagged, and he should make sure to also get a box of those filter bags to go with or a brew basket or similar for her cup. Also point out that if he wants the tea tinned, he must buy a tin separately. All of which is available for purchase at both websites.

The reply I get doesn’t actually say ‘tl;dr’, but it might as well have. It then becomes further obvious that he didn’t read it all when he says it must be bagged, because otherwise she’ll just never get around to drinking it because it’s too much of a hassle. Clearly he didn’t get to the bit with the filter bags or the brew basket which can just be whacked in the dishwasher afterwards. Then the initial question once again, now posed in a mansplain-y way as though I was five, but with the added strong hint that he would like me to order it for him. Oh, and if necessary could add such and such to the budget.

So I got rather irritated and waited until the next day to reply, in which I had to explain that using a filter bag was no different from making coffee (which is somehow not a hassle. Seriously, spoon leaves into bag or spoon coffee into filter and toss the lot after use, what’s the flipping difference?). Also explained that while sachets do exist, they are not something one can count on, and throwing more money at something will not make it magically exist. Refrained from pointing out that what he was actually asking was similar to wanting a high quality whisky but preferably pre-mixed with cola in the bottle. Husband’s analogy, that one. Also pointed out that I had done my research based on the criteria I had been given.

Reply was, ‘yes, yes, yes, yes, I surrender.’ And THEN the initial question again now posed as though I was three, complete with ‘I don’t know anything about it other than I don’t like it.’ Then he remembered that I had once brought some sachets up for her years ago and could we get some of that again. Oh, and still including the strong hint of the never actually asked question, ’can’t you just order it for me?’

I still refuse to take the bait, because I know he’s not actually that helpless, so I link him directly to the sachets that ACP sell, tell him which two it was that I had bought then, and a few others which are also black tea (my mum’s not really that adventurous, so didn’t want him to get her some green or white blend that she wouldn’t know what to do with). At the same time, I’m thinking that not only did he not bother with reading the initial reply, he also didn’t bother with the links, because if he had clicked on the ACP link, for example, he would have seen a very large bit of the menu that said ‘tea bags’ on it. Also hoping that the direct link will serve as a strong hint that he’s not so helpless he can’t do his own damn Christmas shopping.

The final email from him said he had written to Perchs (hallelujah!) and they had suggested a different blend as the closest thing they had to Lady Grey, so he’d ordered 100 g of that.

Loose.

headdesk

To be fair, he did also get two boxes of sachets, but still. After all this hassle he put me through because he didn’t want loose, he goes and buys her a #¤%#%# loose tea!

Give me strength…

Do you lot have to deal with these people as well, or is it just me? At least I avoided doing his shopping for him. For the record, I’d happily have ordered something for him if he had asked me to. I do not, however, volunteer just because he’s feeling whingy. I’ve got my own shopping to deal with, thanks.

Am putting all this under this particular tea, because I’m having a cup and it’s life-giving, and I need life-giving after all that.

( ETA Please be aware that I may choose to remove this post again later on. Right now it’s simply a need to share so I can get it out of my head.)

Indigobloom

Oh this sounds like a very familiar story. My parents are much the same! Rather frustrating idn’t it?!

__Morgana__

I’m sorry. But it’s good to see you. :-)

Evol Ving Ness

You’ve reminded me of how fortunate I have been that my father left all the Christmas shopping to my mother.

Jim Marks

You’re not a real authority, you’re his son. The people who run the shop are a real authority. Sucks, but true. I’m well into middle age and my parents still treat me like the occasions when I know what I’m doing are basically a coincidence.

Angrboda

Indigobloom, it is! And yet he still had to ask me this weekend if it was good enough.

Morgana, likewise.

Evol Ving Ness, well, this was shopping for her, so he couldn’t really let her do it herself. :)

Jim, his daughter actually, last I checked. Otherwise, yeah. Except if it’s something to do with medicine, which obviously I, as a lab tech, must surely know everything about… (Hint, I don’t.)

Jim Marks

Yeah, I get the same thing. I write medical software, so I must know everything about troubleshooting any technical device ever made. But anything I actually do have substantial expertise in? Nah. Never takes my word for it.

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58
38 tasting notes

I brewed about 4 grams in a 100ml gaiwan (tho I usually like my blacks western style) at 195f. I started with 10 seconds on first steep then moved up to 15 seconds for the next few. I was expecting more traditional fujian black flavors with this one than I got. It started of with an expected malty flavor with a hint of a hard to describe back end…maybe hearty/meatiness and touch of bitter. After the second steep it became apparent that this tea was not gonna be what I expected. A VERY floral astringency started to take over…much like a darjeeling tea. I’m not sure if I like this or dislike this at the moment as I do like to taste different flavors. This tea kept giving up to7 steeps though I decided to bow out there. The best way I could describe the flavor is if a Golden Monkey mated with a Darjeeling. To me those are the exact flavors…as if I mixed the two teas into the gaiwan. I have read some reviews on here saying the older offerings are chocolatey and are better as well as that this tea may be better with some age. Not one to sit on my black teas I think I’ll pepper this one into my black sessions til it disappears. All in all its not a bad tea but doesn’t really make me think of a Fujian black.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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41 tasting notes

I have to agree with Dexter and Sil on the 2015 harvest of this tea. It’s a pale comparison to the 2013 and 2014 versions. Missing is the rich chocolate aroma and the profound cocoa notes in the cup. It came across as thin, with just a hint of cocoa and malt and a slight underlying sweetness. I’m not going to rate this just yet. Perhaps if it ages another 6 months or so it might get a little better.

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987 tasting notes

Backlog from this morning. It did taste thin, but I figured I just underleafed. Now, seeing others’ reviews here, I think it might not be me, but the tea.

I did get some chocolatiness from this, but no smoke. I thought this was pretty much the same as lapsang souchong?

Dexter

I’m confused by the names too. In my world – ZSXZ is not smoked and Lapsang is pine smoked, but that doesn’t always hold true. Some companies call a smoked tea ZSXZ and a non smoked one a Lapsang. It’s my understanding that this one is not smoked. I’ve asked in the – what do you want to know about Chinese tea thread about this – will see what they have to say.

Roswell Strange

This came up in class a few weeks ago; ZSXZ is the Chinese name for Lapsang Souchong (it’s similar to how Qimen and Keemun are the same thing but one is an ‘English Translation’). I’m not sure why all the inconsistency, though.

Christina / BooksandTea

Cool, thanks! I’m glad I’m not the only one confused by this.

Doug F

Despite the negative reviews of this tea, I rather like it; but I didn’t taste previous harvests.

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75
661 tasting notes

I was expecting this to be pretty bad after reading the other reviews on it. It is true that 2014 was better. It had some nice chocolate notes whereas this one doesn’t but it’s still a nice malty black. I might add some chopped vanilla beans to it to see if I can get some chocolate notes out of it.

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1040 tasting notes

Sad, sad face….. :((
2015 is not a good harvest for this tea. It doesn’t taste anything like a Fujian black should. It’s thin, light, almost acidic. If handed this not knowing what it was, I would have put on a puzzled look and guessed Taiwan black, but not in a good way.
It’s just so sad. 2013 was AMAZING, 2014 was really nice, and this…..well isn’t.

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10151 tasting notes

dexter sent me this to try and today i tried to compare it with the 2014 version. I’m glad i have a little more to try this again because this was fairly flat and tasteless today compared to the 2014 version (which imo was a little less awesome than 2013). i’m going to withhold my rating until i have a chance to try this again….plus it’ll give me time to convince dexter to try it as well :)

Dexter

Dexter tried it and I did not like it at all. IMHO this is not a good harvest. :(

Ubacat

Oh no! I was hoping this one would be awesome! I have this one coming with YS order I placed at the end of April. I gave away all my 2014 in swaps.

Sil

In all fairness – I emailed Scott to ask about it, since YS has never had a “bad” tea in my books…some that are not “MY” cup of tea, but overall their teas are good. His response: The tea is very fresh. It’s typical for black teas to hit their prime about 6 months in. You could leave the bag open for a couple of days and leave in a cool dry place. I think you’d find it will improve.

I’ll have to try that, as I have noticed in the past that some black teas have tasted better later on. Always willing to give it a shot :)

boychik

I agree. Especially with Yancha. It needs some time to mature. This tea is fr the same region. Try it in September . It will be weather appropriate too ;)

Sil

Boychik – yep! I’ll cross my fingers :)

Terri HarpLady

I didn’t buy any of the 2015 teas…not because I didn’t want to, but because I’m trying not to spend money, and because I still have plenty from 2014, & in some cases even 2013!
The benefits of being a tea hoarder :)

Sil

I wish that were the case terri! I’m doing pretty good at keeping my cupboard in a 6 month rotation ish..

boychik

I’m like Terri. Still holding 2014 teas. I don’t think they are losing any flavor.

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