ZhengShan Xiao Zhong – Lapsang Souchong
This tea enjoys much more hype overseas than in China. Overseas, even people with very little knowledge about Chinese tea, would usually quote this one. I have mixed feelings about it: like it, but find it a bit unsophisticated… let’s see why.
DRY LEAVES have a very dark brown, almost black, charcoal colour. Its scent is smoky with a hint of dry prunes and wood.
INFUSED LEAVES – smoky again, but the aromatic palette becomes richer with scents of cigar, wood, grilled very dark rye bread, as well as a discrete fruity note – in addition to prunes, I scent dry cranberries.
It’s about the LIQUOR that I am partial. The colour is flawless: very beautiful aged whisky hue, very limpid. Aroma wise, we continue on a smoky note, supported by fruity and woody hues. But texture cannot really be called smooth, although it’s not rough either.
The warm smoky aroma is comforting and reassuring, yet underneath this initial strong flavour I find this tea a bit hollow. It’s a sprinter who would barely do 3 steeps, before losing its mojo. Interestingly, its acidity increases with each new steep. Sprinter in a glass, it has not said it’s last word yet: it will leave a very long aftertaste in your mouth…
It’s a black tea Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (正山小种), often referred to in the West as Lapsang Souchong.
TEA & FOOD: let’s go for a full blown smoke and cook a smoked duck
Till then, make the most of your day, whatever the mood you are in