Tea Steeping Guide
About Tea: How It's Made
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Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Lapsang Souchong) - Smoked Wuyi Black Tea - Spring, 2015
Weight: 50g (1.76 oz)
The small, evenly sized, deep reddish-black dry leaves of this Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Lapsang Souchong) carry a moderate but distinctive aroma of pine smoke, due to its unique drying process that utilizes charcoal made from the wood of pine trees. The infusion is a perfectly clear, deep red-brown with a distinctively smoky and subtly fruity nose. In the cup, it presents an excellent balance between the very low astringency, fruity black tea base and the unmistakable smokiness that has made this tea a favorite in the West since the beginning of the black tea trade.
Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is a world renowned tea from the Wuyi mountain region of Fujian Province, and it is supposedly the first "black" or "red" tea ever produced. The commonly circulated story about this tea is that, in a time of typical instability, some troops were moving through a tea producing area of Wuyishan. In one village deep in the Wuyi mountain range, some tea makers were forced by the troops to leave a large portion of tea leaves before they could be fired and dried. By the time the tea makers got back to finish processing the tea, the leaves had oxidized completely and turned the familiar black color of modern black tea with some "off" aromas from sitting too long. The tea was heat-dried or roasted using pinewood charcoal, and the tea took on the distinctive smoky aroma that is commonly associated with Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong or, as it's more commonly known in the West, Lapsang Souchong.
About the Name:
The modern market name for this tea is Zhèng Shān Xiǎo Zhǒng (正山小种; Eng: Authentic Mountain Small Leaf), but before this name was given in modern times, it was known as Nèi Shān Xiǎo Zhǒng (内山小种; Eng: Inner Mountain Small Leaf). Apparently, the pronunciation of 内 山小种 in old Hokkien (local language) was something like "Lap San Sou Chong," and the name Lapsang Souchong ended up sticking for us in the very large market that grew for this tea in the West.
The smoky aroma from this tea will penetrate and remain in any unglazed teawares you use to steep this tea. For this reason, we can only recommend using glazed porcelain or glass to steep this tea.
Leaf: ±3 g (2-3 tsp) per cup
Water: 195°F (just under boil)
Time: 3-4 Min
Use approximately 7-8 grams (best to weigh) of leaf in a 150 ml gaiwan, water at about 195°F, and a series of short infusions. Start with about 20 seconds for the first steep, and increase the steeping time over a series of 3 or more infusions.
Of course, be sure to adjust the amount of leaf, steeping time, and/or water temperature according to your taste.
Harvest: Spring, 2015
Alternate Name: Lapsang Souchong
Origin: Xingcunzhen, Wuyishan, Fujian
Weight: 50g (1.76 oz)
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