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Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong


The classic unsmoked version of Lapsang suchong , typically

grown in Wu mountain area it has a soothing and distinctive taste with

hints of ripe plum floral notes

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Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (正山小种), often referred to in the West as Lapsang Souchong, is a famous black tea originating from the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian province of China. This tea is known for its unique smoky aroma and flavour. Here’s a comprehensive look at Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong:

1. Origin: Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong hails from the Wuyi Mountains, a renowned tea-producing region with mineral-rich soils and unique microclimates. The name “Zheng Shan” means “Original Mountain,” and only tea from this specific area can be authentically called “Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong.”

2. Processing: What sets this tea apart is its distinctive processing method. After being withered, the tea leaves are smoked over pinewood fires, giving them a unique smoky aroma and flavour. However, it’s worth noting that traditional versions of this tea might have a milder smokiness compared to the heavily smoked versions often exported and more familiar to Western palates.

3. Appearance: The tea leaves are typically long, slightly curled, and black with a glossy sheen. When brewed, the tea liquor can range from amber to deep red.

4. Flavour and Aroma: Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is renowned for its smoky aroma, reminiscent of campfires or smoked wood. The taste can be smooth and mellow with notes of pine, sweetness, and sometimes hints of longan or dried fruit. The smokiness is the most dominant characteristic, but the tea also has layers of flavour that can be explored with multiple infusions.

5. Varieties: While Lapsang Souchong is known in the West for its pronounced smoky character, there are different grades and varieties, some of which might be less smoky and have a more subtle flavour profile. The traditional Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, consumed in China, is often less smoky than its export versions.

6. Health Benefits: Like other black teas, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is rich in antioxidants, which can offer various health benefits, including promoting heart health, aiding in digestion, and potentially improving mental alertness.

7. Brewing: This tea is typically brewed using boiling water. It’s robust and can handle longer steeping times, but to explore its range of flavours, it’s recommended to start with shorter infusions and adjust according to personal preference.

8. Pairing: Due to its strong smoky flavour, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong can be paired with hearty or smoked foods, much like one might pair peaty whiskies or smoky wines.

Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is a unique tea that can be polarizing: tea enthusiasts either love its distinctive smoky character or find it too overpowering. For those unfamiliar with it, tasting it can be an exciting and novel experience in the world of tea.

Black Tea Brewing Instructions

Brewing Black Tea without Milk

  • Add one level teaspoon per cup
  • Pour boiling hot water
  • Steep 3-4 minutes

Brewing Black Tea with Milk

  • Add one heaping teaspoon per cup
  • Pour boiling hot water
  • Steep 3-4 minutes

Tip: Warm up the milk!

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