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Tea Shop in Beijing's Maliandao Tea Market.

Kyle Stewart, co-owner of the Cultured Cup recently visited China and in this blog series he will share some of his fascinating experiences:

One of my favorite teas in China was a tea named Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, which means "from Wuyi Mountain small tea plant," and is classified as an unsmoked Lapsang Souchong. For those familiar with the heavily smoked Lapsang, the second type is tippy and complex with lingering notes of cocoa, golden raisin, and a fruity note that a friend and I couldn't identify. The tea shop owner produced a bowl of dried longans, which we cracked open and ate. Ah, the mysterious note revealed!

1. A Maliandao Tea Market merchant in Beijing preparing tea for us. Look at the size of the Gong Fu draining tray!

2. Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Wuyi Mountain small tea plant). The Wuyi Mountains are in China's Fujian Province.

3. Dried longan looks like a very large raisin. The longan shell, which you break open, and the outer shell are not edible.

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