Greetings fellow tea lovers! If you know me, you may know that my most favoritest tea ever is smoky Lapsang Souchong. But Lapsang comes in unsmoked form as well, and you know I have to try all of those too! I have had two of these before but I am trying one of them for the first time so I was excited to dig in.
The three teas are: Souchong Liquor from Mei Leaf, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong from Fujian Sourcing (aka William the producer), and Zheng Shan Xian Zhong of Wuyi Fujian from Yunnan Sourcing.
I used 4 grams per 100 ml of dry leaf, 200F water and infusions of 15 seconds plus 5 for all three teas.
I will describe each tea individually and then decide which one I preferred the best. Starting with the Souchong Liquor from Mei Leaf.
I have to say I was a little surprised at the amount of broken leaves in this one. I’m not sure if they came that way or they were broken in transit somehow. It’s unusual form Mei Leaf in my experience to have that many broken bits.
The dry leaves in a warm gaiwan smelled of cocoa and charred wood. The first and second infusions definitely had the cocoa note as well and the woody note on the finish. The texture was medium and the finish was quite long. On the third infusion, it started to get an oily texture to it, but still had the cocoa notes. This is a tea that I’ve had before and it’s always very good. It’s one of those teas where the first sip really draws you in and causes you to focus on the tea and be in the moment.
Now for the new tea. This comes from a tea producer in China, and I bought a lot of samples directly from him and put this one aside for a while since I hoped it would be something special.
I wasn’t disappointed. I let out an audible “whoa” when I took the first sip. The leaves are the largest of the three and are completely intact. This tea tasted like cocoa and it was sweet, so it was like chocolate. I do love chocolate more than the average person. On the second and third infusions, it developed just a tiny hint of spice notes, which was nice. Reminded me of Mexican hot chocolate. The texture was medium and the finish was long. Great tea.
Now for the Yunnan Sourcing. This one was a bit….. different.
I’ve had this tea many times, so I knew what to expect, but it still surprises me every time I drink it. I get one tasting note and one note only from this tea: fried potatoes. Like french fries, or more specifically breakfast potatoes. Have you ever had potatoes cut into small cubes and fried served for breakfast? This tea took me a bygone pre-covid era of breakfast buffets and having those potatoes. The texture was very oily also like fried potatoes. I mean it’s not a bad thing by any means, I do love french fries, but it was quite different from the other two teas.
All three of these teas were very good, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. But if you twisted my arm and made me pick a favorite, it would be the Fujian Sourcing. The unfortunate part of that is that he is a producer and may only sell by the Kg, which is a lot of tea to buy at once.
Now for the prices – Mei Leaf currently sells for $12.01 for 50 grams. 4 grams per session comes to 12 sessions per box, which is $1 per session. I know you can get at least 8 infusions out of this tea, so that would come to a whopping $.13 per 100 ml infusion. If you are in the states, Mei Leaf shipping from the UK is not cheap so there is always that to consider. But $.13 a cup for this tea is a great price.
I have reached out to William about the price for his tea and will update when I hear from him.
The Yunnan Sourcing tea is not currently listed on their website, unfortunately. I do remember the price being very good, somewhere around $14 for 100 grams. It was definitely cheaper than the Mei Leaf.
If you can get your hands on the tea from Fujian Sourcing, it is a very delicious unsmoked lapsang. If you prefer cocoa, you can’t go wrong with Souchong Liquor from Mei Leaf. If you would rather taste fried potatoes, then go with the Yunnan Sourcing. They are all good and good value. Cheers!