Hua Xiang Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong
Hua Xiang Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong
Unsmoked Wuyi Black Tea
Crafted by the Li Family
- DATE OF PICKINGSpring 2023
- TongmuWuyishan, Fujian
- ELEVATION600 METERS
- XINGCUN XIAOZHONGTea Varietal
While Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is usually smoked, the same leaf material and finishing technique can be used without the final smoking step. Hua Xiang means floral fragrance, referring to the natural but subtle floral notes in Xingcun Xiaozhong varietal that are brought out through the Li Family’s expert hand-processing. When smaller leaf material mixed with delicate buds is used, rich vanilla undertones can develop, accenting the savory nutty flavors. The main difference between this tea and a classic Wuyi Gongfu Black is that Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is not necessarily curled and twisted as thoroughly, giving it a more open structure suitable for incorporating that smaller bud and leaf mixture that wouldn’t work in the tight twists of Wuyi Gongfu Black, but both are very traditional calls back to the very earliest black teas in the world.
- truefloral85rosetruefruit70lemongrasstruesavory70barley, oat brantruespice80nutmeg, long peppertruetingling, juicy
- floral - rose
- fruit - lemongrass
- savory - barley, oat bran
- spice - nutmeg, long pepper
- texture - tingling, juicy
the Li Family also recommends:
- 2023 Jin Jun MeiJin Jun Mei Wuyi black tea is one of the most labor intensive and demanding teas to produce. Fine Jin Jun Mei is made exclusively from tiny spring buds, and requires thousands and thousands of hand-picked golden buds to make a single pound of finished tea. The result is a downy tea with a thick full texture, and a beautiful elegance. Li Xiangxi's spring-fed tea grows out of rocky, sandy soil, yielding a rich mineral flavor true to Wuyishan's unique terroir.
- 2023 Bai Rui Xiang Wuyi Black TeaBai Rui Xiang varietal is named after the Winter Daphne, a heady aromatic flower native to China. Traditionally finished as an oolong, this tea always has a rich nuanced undercurrent of incense spice and cooling tingling minerality. This season, the Li Family saved a small portion of this reserve harvest Bai Rui Xiang to finish as a black tea using old-school sun-oxidation in bamboo baskets at the family workshop in Tongmu. The result is an incredibly complex black tea where the intense florals of the oolong finish take a back seat to the cooling tingling textural excitement this tea has to offer, along for a rich spiced brew full of Wuyi’s famous minerality.
- 2023 Wuyi Gongfu Black
Li Xiangxi works with her brother and cousins in the Wuyi Ecological Preserve to harvest this propagated-from-seed Xiaozhong varietal leaf and process it using traditional heap oxidization techniques and curling to bring out the tea’s natural complexity. Grown on a hillside in a ravine that collects a pocket of natural mist all morning, the tea buds slowly, yielding an incredibly sweet brew. The tea picks up mineral texture from the rocky volcanic soil and the natural spring water running through the Li Family’s plot. Deeper complexity comes from the natural genetic variation of allowing their Xiaozhong tea to grow from seed instead of cuttings, creating a rich multi-layered taste experience.
- 2023 Black Buds Jin Jun MeiXingcun Xiaozhong varietal tea in Wuyishan can produce black and gold buds. While the golden bud expression has been encouraged through cultivation for its stunning color, Li Xiangxi and her family often prefer the depth and complexity of black buds. This tea still uses the same tiny buds and the same meticulous hand-picking as their golden buds Jin Jun Mei, but with a more spiced and savory flavor profile.
- 2023 Mei Zhan Jin Black Tea
Mei Zhan varietal is famous for its rich and focused fruit-forward oolong made from long skinny spring leaves. Recently, Mr. Li has been experimenting with a stand of his family’s iconic Mei Zhan in early spring when the plant puts out huge buds that are too delicate to withstand oolong processing. He personally leads the hand-picking of the Li Family Mei Zhan buds and brings them to the family home and workshop in Tongmu for Jin Jun Mei meticulous black tea hand-finishing. The slow oxidation in bamboo baskets brings out big savory notes and sweet rich honey and cream.
'The first sips give us the deep textural bite and mineral flavor of a Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong with the delicate perfumed florals and fruit of a Shui Jin Gui Wuyi Oolong. This tea is big bodied, bold and full. It holds nothing back. As the tea continues to steep, it settles into a beautiful, balanced texture forward minerality that dissipates into juicy citrus notes.'
- 4620015 seconds10551955 seconds3412room temp8 hours
oz.use 200° watersteep 15 secondsresteep many times
add 10 sec. each infusion
Gongfu5 g.5 ozuse 195° watersteep 5 seconds
add 3 sec. per steepingenjoy many steepings
oz.use room temp. waterrefrigerate overnight
8 hoursadd ice & enjoy