Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong - Sweet Potato aroma

$ 3.00

Xiao Zhong might be one of the earliest black teas known in the west. Like most teas, the name was completely mispronounced and became Lapsang Souchong. The tea originated in Wu Yi mountain area of Fujian where the yancha/rock teas I love so much also come from. Traditionally smoked over pine wood to impart a smoky aroma and taste that I have always found overpowering and distasteful in commodity versions. It’s rare that I can find an even lightly smoked version that I can drink. But again, as Lu Yu says, the quality of the tea is in the mouth, and I’m talking about my mouth here.

This unsmoked Xiao Zhong, however, I find delicious. Mr. Li has roasted it in a way that foregrounds the yammy, sweet potato aroma of the cultivar. Make sure to savor that aroma as you raise your cup to your lips!


  • Origin: Huanghuacong Village (west of Wuyi Nature Reserve), Fujian Province, China
  • Grower/Teamaster: Li Xing Hong
  • Elevation: 500m (1650ft)
  • Harvest Date: Late April Pluck 2022
  • Cultivar: Xiao Zhong
  • Cultivation: No spray plantation  
  • Plucking Standard: 2 leaf and a bud
  • Processing Notes: 9-hour wither and bake dried; roasted to accentuate sweet potato aroma
  • Nickname: Sweet Potato

Brewing Suggestions1:

  • Water: 195-205˚F
  • Tea: 2g per 4oz of water (a level TB2)
  • Infusion:
    • Western: One infusion of 3-5 minutes. I sometimes do a second half-infusion with half the amount water for the same time.

Tasting Notes:

  • Sweet potato nose/aroma, brown sugar and roasty notes..

1 Brewing suggestions are just that. Try it the suggested way then experiment. Some tea drinkers like to use slightly hotter and longer times for each subsequent infusion.

2 Weighing your tea is always the best way to control your dosage. I provide approximate volume measures for convenience, but they can be problematic due to the variance in tea leaf shape and size. It’s best to use the single appropriate volume measure for the tea, i.e., don’t try to measure 1.5TB using two spoons meant to measure 1 TB and a ½ TB. Use an actual 1.5 TB measuring spoon. Yes, they make them! I like the oblong ones to handle longer leaf styles.

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