Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fujian Zhengshan Xiaozhong

When I had abandoned hope for anything exciting happening to me this rather dreary winter afternoon, a box from Kunming arrived an hour ago.  I had hastily ordered some tea right before the New Year in case I was going to stop buying tea in 2013. I think not.

But the real driver for this happy purchase from Chawangshop was Jakub's review of the Fujian Waishan Xiaozhong. His tempting words exactly-
"tears of happiness appear in my eyes (almost)."

I am certainly a sucker for such emotion inducing tea. I ordered both the Waishan Xiaozhong(外山小种) as well as the premium Zhengshan Xiaozhong(正山小种).  XiaoZhong(=Souchong) indicates a smaller leaf variety of tea bush. The Waishan designation indicates that it was produced outside the traditional LS producing TongMu village while Zhengshan indicates genuine TongMu origin. The vendor description seemed to indicate that this Zhengshan had yet even smaller leaves and more buds although both were labeled as being grade AA.

You can read the full history and naming clarification from hojotea who also adds  that sipping whiskey alongside LS is a flavor party in your mouth not to be missed. Whether or not Sir Winston Churchill really did mix his LS with scotch, I'll have to try the said blend myself. I even found a vendor who ages LS in rye whisky barrels.  Due to the smoking process, LS can be aged up to a point which tickles my hoarding impulses.

Yes! Yes! Both are delicious teas worth drinking and sharing. No one need fear offending anyone with these two mellow Xiaozhongs. This Zhengshan does not disappoint as a refined delicate tea and I'm exceedingly happy that I can at least taste something of that dark dried Turkish apricot over my sore throat.  I cannot attest to the famed dried longan flavor since I've not had the pleasure of dried longan, only fresh.

Both teas leave a lingering sweetness on the front half of the tongue; the smokiness is so subtle that one would not know this tea was any relation to the grossly smoked LS one is commonly assaulted with.

The Waishan Xiaozhong provides a more vigorous fuller maltier beany cacao taste. I'm beaming over the juiciness of this tea and at $8 per 100g and even with added shipping, it's a treasure.  I immediately declare Xiaozhongs to be the official house hongcha. But my husband just lets that fly as there are almost weekly such announcements. Last week I declared Himalayan salt to be the official house salt for 2013.   I'll be giving dianhongs a rest as I've gotten tired and even slightly contemptuous of their reliable smooth taste.   I believe myself to be cured or at least granted a reprieve by Xiaozhong of all teas.

(After dinner, I realize of course it should be Xiazhong which has penetrated my current veil of tea fog.  In my diminished state- only such a strong smoky tea would get through.  )


  1. Such an unreserved plug from the likes of you compels action. I'm salivating and I'm putting in an order TODAY.


  2. I've bought the same from Chawangshop some time ago. Can't wait to open it!