My notes on this tea are incomplete, so I will need to try again. Here is what I have;
dark with much fruit, lemon, melon, honey, slight jasmine, dried apricot, slightly tannic, juicy.
“My notes on this tea are incomplete, so I will need to try again. Here is what I have; dark with much fruit, lemon, melon, honey, slight jasmine, dried apricot, slightly tannic, juicy.” Read full tasting note
“On nights when I have on-call duty, I like to have something caffeinated in the evening. Since I need to sleep lightly and be up and out the door on a moment’s notice, it’s a good idea for me to...” Read full tasting note
“The scent reminds me of candied Corsican clementines I used to buy all the time in Paris + wafts of lychee. The flavor, too, is a mix of those scents, together with a minerality and pleasantly...” Read full tasting note
“I picked this tea up several months ago, during the big sales event, and am just finally getting around to it. I haven’t been in the mood to write reviews for several months, plus I wanted to...” Read full tasting note
This intriguing varietal is sometimes literally translated as Concubine’s Smile (or laugh). However, this doesn’t quite capture the feeling in Chinese. The tea is actually named after a type of lychee fruit, which is called “Concubines Smile” – a fruit that was so loved by the famously beautiful concubine that it always made her smile. In that sense, the name is referring to the fruity aroma of the varietal. We think it is best left in Chinese, as at the end of the day, “Feizi Xiao” now refers to the varietal of Wuyi Oolong and reads like the proper noun that it is without the direct connotations.
This tea is processed like a Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong in terms of the signature black, thinly twisted leaves, but the name’s reference to the lychee becomes super obvious when we start brewing. The aroma is overwhelmingly fruity, perfumed just like lychee.
The first sips yield a balanced and elegant tea. The tropical lychee fruit flavor is astounding. This black tea is as perfumed as a Tieguanyin, but deep, dark and grounded. The aftertaste is full of not only lychee, but also orchid, like a wet tropical garden.
As the tea steeps out, we get creamy notes, honey and of course the rocky mineral Wuyi flavor. Everything isl balanced with an incredibly consistent lychee fruit flavor. Drinking this, we can only speculate that this naturally-occuring flavor profile must be the inspiration for all fruit-flavored black teas.
Company description not available.
Zheng Shan Feizi XiaoTangpin
Fei Zi XiaoVerdant Tea
Imperial Concubine's Smile | Fei Zi XiaoJing Tea
Zheng Shan Xiao ZhongUnknown
1997 Shou Xiao BingCha Xiang
On nights when I have on-call duty, I like to have something caffeinated in the evening. Since I need to sleep lightly and be up and out the door on a moment’s notice, it’s a good idea for me to drink something that gives me enough energy to get the job done. Yesterday, this unique black tea was my evening tea. I had put off trying it for nearly a month, but after spending the better part of a week drinking flavored teas, I wanted something light, sweet, and fruity that was unflavored. This was the best choice I had.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. Since I have been experimenting with my gongfu preparation lately, I did not specifically follow Verdant Tea’s suggestions. Following a very quick rinse (approximately 2-3 seconds), I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. I performed 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 18 seconds, 21 seconds, 25 seconds, 29 seconds, 34 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, and 1 minute 15 seconds.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves gave off powerful aromas of clementine, lychee, cantaloupe, and honey. After the rinse, I detected even more powerful aromas of lychee, honey, cantaloupe, and clementine. I also picked up a faint aroma of peach. The first infusion provided the expected pronounced fruitiness on the nose. In the mouth, robust notes of honey, cantaloupe, lychee, clementine, peach, rose, and wood filled the mouth. The second infusion provided a fruity nose with a more floral touch. In the mouth, I noted exceptionally strong, yet balanced notes of lychee, cantaloupe, peach, clementine, honey, and rose underscored by touches of wood, herbs, and a subtle toastiness. The following series of infusions played up strongly integrated aromas and flavors of clementine, lychee, rose, cantaloupe, and honey balanced by toast, herb, peach, and wood notes. Later infusions saw the fruitiness fade a tad and more pronounced touches of honey, rose, herbs, toast, and wood emerge. By the final 2-3 infusions, touches of lychee, peach, and cantaloupe remained, though the clementine presence was still quite detectable. There were still aromas and flavors of toast, herbs, and wood hanging around too. I also noted a very subtle mineral presence.
I really enjoyed this tea. Its aroma and flavor profiles are incredibly unique. I could see this going over well with fans of sweeter, more fruit forward teas, but I could also see this working for fans of traditional Chinese black teas as well.
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Citrus, Herbs, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Peach, Rose, Toast, Wood
The scent reminds me of candied Corsican clementines I used to buy all the time in Paris + wafts of lychee. The flavor, too, is a mix of those scents, together with a minerality and pleasantly smooth wave of heavy oxidation. I love it. It’s unlike any other tea in my collection. I’ll be stocking up on it with my next order from Verdant.
Flavors: Candy, Citrus Zest, Lychee
I picked this tea up several months ago, during the big sales event, and am just finally getting around to it. I haven’t been in the mood to write reviews for several months, plus I wanted to sipdown some of the already opened teas that had already been reviewed multiple times, so now that’s coming along nicely, and I feel like I can open some of the newer packages. My friend Lisa came for breakfast yesterday, and it seemed like the perfect time to do so! Lisa fell in love with this tea immediately, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, so I’m sampling it again today, using the gongfu recommendations of:
5G + Gaiwan X 5 sec (+ 3 sec per each additional steep).
The dry leaves are tiny & very dark, with a faint aroma of tart fruit. I heated up my Gaiwan & let the leaf warm up and was rewarded with a richer, fruitier aroma, bringing memories of when I used to cook overnight wholegrain cereal in my crockpot, spiked with chunks of dried fruit, back in my Vegan days (yes I was a vegan for a long time…) The perfume is rich and sweet, tart dark plums, lychee, honey and a grainy malty toast. It rises thickly into my sinuses and lingers. There is also a peppery quality, but not enough to make me sneeze.
On with the steepings…
I’m not sure how to describe what I’m sipping, and I’m actually not sure if I like it. The first round is kind of bitter & peppery, like nasturtium leaves. It’s not what I expected at all, however by the end of the first cup a sweetness has begun to layer into my soft palate & throat with each sip, that has my mouth watering like Pavlov’s Dog. Gradually the steeps get sweeter: Lychee, dried plum, sorghum essence, a sweet incense like aroma that rises into the sinuses almost like some oolongs, but not as lingering. The color throughout is a beautiful dark orange.
The name of this tea translates as Concubine’s Smile, but this isn’t some girly girl. She’s bold, sweetly perfumed, but a little on the bitter side … like maybe she’s carrying a little vile of poison up her sleeve… you know… just in case you piss her off…
Received a sample of this from Lion (Thanks!).
I didn’t get a very strong scent from the dry leaves. I brewed this in my gaiwan, just under boiling. After the first 15 second steep, the wet leaves smelled heavily of wet hay. The liquor was a nice caramel brown and had a slightly malty, slightly fruity scent. The taste in the first steep was a bit weak but I kind of suspected that would be the case.
Second steep, 30 seconds. Now the flavor of lychee, malt, and mineral comes to life. Rather enjoying the lychee as I have not had much experience with that flavor.
I continued with steeps of 45s, 1m, 1m30s, and 2m30s. The lychee flavor stayed well through the first 5 steeps with it finally fading a bit on the 6th and last steep. I would describe the last steep of 2m30s as watery, mineral, and slightly floral. I’m sure I could get another steep or two but overall it tasted done to me.
I am pleasantly surprised with the fruity/lychee flavor and coating lingering on my tongue and throat. This wasn’t a strong bold tea but a very subtle tea that presents its flavors to those who stop to look for them.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Mineral